Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

A forum for questions and helpful information and advice about international moves and moving companies.
Diane
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Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 5:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby Diane » Fri Apr 15, 2005 5:26 am

Moving internationally is a very stressful and expensive experience, and if you don't take precautions up front it can quickly turn into a nightmare. Some people may be able to simply mail boxes to themselves and wait until they're living abroad to buy whatever additional items they need. That is the simplest and safest thing to do. But if that isn't possible for you, it's very important to choose an international moving company that has proper credentials and has performed well in the past.

Some companies that have done a good job for people posting on web-advice.ru are the following:

Rainier Overseas Movers at http://rainieros.com - x220 (ask for Doug Wiviott or email him - doug at rainieros.com)
Southern Winds International at http://swintl.com - or (ask for Michael Gilbert or email him - dont-scam-me at swintl.com)
Suddath International at http://suddath.com/moving-company/home- ... web-advice.ru -
Stevens International at http://stevensworldwide.com/Interna ... nformation - or email at .

The Federal Maritime Commission has a very useful FAQ sheet explaining (in the section on Moving Household Goods) why licensing is important. It can fine companies that aren't properly licensed. It is currently advising the public to report unlicensed companies that solicit international door-to-door moves. Companies with ocean transportation intermediary (OTI) licensing can be licensed either as freight forwarders (FFs) or as non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs) or as both. Companies can be checked for proper OTI licensing on this page.

As with moves within the United States, we suggest that you get more than one quote, preferably three. However, for international moves two quotes may be enough as long as they are from reputable companies like those just listed. Please also read the article "Planning an International Move" by Michael Zlotnik as well as "A Guide to International Shipping" by Ed Singer .

On this "sticky" thread we have brought together most of the positive reviews and comments on international movers that have been posted on this website up to now. It will be updated periodically. As with the auto transporters thread, anybody who wishes is welcome to add a comment.

Note that there are probably many other good companies that don't happen to have had anybody post about them on the message board. Most of the major van lines have international divisions and that is another route you can take: call an agent company that you trust and ask that company to arrange your move. At the bottom of this page there is a good report on a move booked by Advance Moving and Storage, an Atlas agent in Ithaca, NY, that managed the move through Atlas Van Lines.

In the interest of full disclosure:- web-advice.ru is receiving a referral fee from the moving companies listed above for every move with them that is booked from this website. For a long time, Tim Walker (founder of the website) resisted taking such fees, but it became obvious that consumers' voluntary donations would never cover the costs involved in running the website. We hope that readers will understand that web-advice.ru would never enter into such arrangements with any company that Tim was not completely convinced was ethical. The other companies that web-advice.ru is receiving referral fees from are Broadway Express, the international moving companies recommended on the International Moves sticky, the full-service movers Moovers, Inc., All Star Moving, Joyce Van Lines, and (in the future) STS Movers, the auto transporters Coast to Coast Auto Transport and Golden Key Express, and the auto transport broker ProStar at http://shipmycar.com. In the spring of 2010, Tim added Atlas SmartMove to the list of endorsed companies.

There is a very good FAQ sheet on international moving at http://fidi.com/public/planning/other/faq.asp on the website of an organization called FIDI, which stands for a French phrase about international furniture moving (FIDI is located in Belgium). FIDI audits its members every two years and this is a safeguard against fraud. You can go on the FIDI website at http://fidi-faim.com/companyprofile/search.asp to check out companies that you are considering. Make sure that the company you are considering is the same company listed as a FIDI member, because there are many companies with similar names.

AVOID like the plague any of the following: Worldwide Relocations, Dolphin International Shipping, Globe Movers, Inc., and Sea & Air Cargo International. The jury is still out on All American Van Lines in Hicksville, NY.

Moving internationally is a real minefield. Do not hire any company that has ANY bad reports on the Internet--where there's smoke there's fire. International moves are expensive and beset by delay, and as I said above, some people have decided to just mail boxes to themselves and buy furniture and perhaps a car at destination. However, many countries have unreliable postal systems and one person reported back to us that some of his boxes sent to Eastern Europe never arrived. In Latin America, postal authorities have sometimes asked for unofficial extra fees (more like bribes) to hand over the boxes. I would guess that Western Europe would be OK in this regard but am not sure.

The following few posts bring together comments posted here to date about the four international freight forwarders endorsed by this website. In each case I've noted whether the move had been completed at the time of the post or not, to be sure that all charges and delays were reported.

Rainier Overseas Movers - viewtopic.php?p=31171#31171
Southern Winds International - viewtopic.php?p=32589#32589
Sterling International - viewtopic.php?p=32590#32590
Stevens International Forwarders - viewtopic.php?p=32603#32603

[Editor's note by Diane: See the next post on this thread for reviews of Rainier Overseas Movers.]
Last edited by Diane on Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:30 pm, edited 116 times in total.

Diane (continued)

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby Diane (continued) » Tue Apr 26, 2005 6:01 pm

This post and the next one bring together reviews of Rainier Overseas Movers.

Rainier Overseas Movers at rainieros.com

There is a positive report by "TakeAStand" on a completed move from Seattle to Germany (she dealt with Sonya) –
TakeAStand wrote:11/29/04 - So far I am having very good luck with Rainier Overseas out of Seattle/Tacoma. After my goods were sitting at a local warehouse for 2 1/2 months (I tracked them there on my on initiative based on pickup paperwork) I did manage, with a collection attorney's help, to get my goods released from Worldwide to enable the local pickup company to turn the shipment over to Rainier Overseas. They quoted me about $2000 less than I had already paid World Wide.

The goods left here within a week and have arrived at the port in Germany on Dec. 9th as stated and the European agent there is in touch with the local relatives and the goods are to be actually delivered tomorrow, Dec 16th. Had I not gotten involved with World Wide's antics my goods would have arrived in Europe no later than Sept 30th (they were picked up August 12th) and for considerably less. I would recommend Sonya at Rainier Oveseas as someone to deal with based on the experience I have had with them taking over my shipment and getting it on its' way.
- http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3099

There is a fairly positive report by "mpc" on an uncompleted move from Atlanta to Australia but the person said that there was a delay and an unanticipated $220 "quarantine fee" that was not told about by Rainier in advance -
mpc wrote:11/30/04 - I just used Rainier for a move from Atlanta to Melbourne. They picked up our stuff on Sept 8, it is now Dec. 1 and it is STILL NOT HERE!
The price was reasonable, and our agent has been good about getting back to our inquiries. But the time, I'm not happy. They quoted the move time as 45-65 days, it actually will turn out the be more like 95 days.
. . . . [Also], we have just been asked to pay $220. for quarentine inspection here in Australia. This is after being quoted a door to door fee from Rainier that I believed would cover all of these types of fees.
I am going to contest the fee, but as we never got a contract spelling out every detail of the move, I suspect we'll just have to pay up.
-
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3008

There is a positive report by "frenchiecath" about a completed move from CA to Paris, but she also reports a delay -
frenchiecath wrote:3/31/05 . . . my international move went great. I used Rainier and they were great, the packers from California Relocations to the unpackers in Paris from Passport Moving. Everything went smooth. Not even one glass broken. I waited just a few days longer but I don't care since everything is here safe and sound at the price quoted.

My contact at Rainier Overseas is Doug Wiviot. . . .

I forgot to say that Rainier were the one to give me the best quote and price. Crown Royal looked pretty good to me but I did'nt have the budget. Next time I won't even stress like I did and will use Rainier my eyes closed.
- http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2829

Also see this post by "wombatused” on a successful completed move from Seattle to Germany -
wombatused wrote:4/2/05 - Having had a bad moving experience and then managing to get the shipment away from the original shipper and moving it to Rainier Overseas of Seattle I would have no hesitation in recommending them. They did a shipment from Seattle to Germany for my son and it was very professional. I dealt with Sonya at Rainier Overseas. I would say beware of the low ball quotes. You will end up paying twice that if you aren't careful - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3835

There is another positive comment about Rainier by “ChrisL” (a moving professional) –
4/8/05 - I've used Rainier for several overseas moves; talk to Sonja or Rebecca they will shoot straight and use decent origin and destination agents AND give you a competitive figure. A lot of [major van lines] agents are required to use the "house" forwarder . . . and they tend to be pricey when that requirement is in effect. Also, a standard overseas crate or "liftvan" is 200 cu. ft. not 300. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2572

There is a positive post on a completed move from VA to Switzerland, but the person had damage to a couple of items:
Zancuda wrote:8/30/05 - I'm moving to Switzerland from the mid-atlantic region and have gotten a quote from Rainier Overseas. They sent a local agent to do an in-house estimate and have quoted me about $2,600 for 200 cubic feet of stuff to include packing and door-to-door service. It seems reasonable to me, but I would love a second opinion from someone who knows. Is there anybody out there who can help? . . . I did get three other quotes and Ranier came in at just over half the amount of the others. (Switzerland is apparently an expensive country to deliver shipment.) I simply couldn't afford the others, but was afraid the Ranier quote was TOO low and I would have to pay more later.

12/7/05 - Reporting back as requested. Once in Europe I dealt mainly with EUROUSA in London and Luker Freight in Geneva. My stuff was delivered in Switzerland very efficiently a couple of weeks ago. Total cost was around $2,800. Everything arrived in it's original condition and the only additional fee I had to pay was a 55 GBP security fee to the London Port. Am pleased I went with RanierOS. . . . p.s. I also wanted to add that Ranier used Olympic Moving (I shipped from Northern VA / Washington DC area) to do the in-house quote and packing/pick up. The packers (while needing some brushing up on their spelling) were courteous, professional, and very efficient--they even called to ask if they could come early, which was great for me. They did a much better job packing than I ever could have done. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5816

3/9/06 - I just unwrapped a couple of items from our international move and found they were damaged. They are wooden carvings we picked up while traveling in Thailand. I specifically pointed them out to the agent who did the in-home survey (for the quote) as being our favorite possesions and being very fragile. They are very intricate carvings with many small protruding pieces of wood. When I unwrapped them, I found several pieces had broken off on each one. It has been a while since the original delivery, but I know the pieces were damaged during shipment because I kept the packages carefully tucked away, untouched in their original shipping packaging, until I had the proper place to put the carvings. It's upsetting because it turns out they were the only things broken in the shipment--all our dishes and fragile mirrors made it fine.

I used Rainier and sent them an email and fax about the problem, asking about how to file a claim for the value of the pieces. I haven't heard back, and it's been a few days. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7486
There is a positive post on a completed move from Washington, DC to Europe:
stefanv03 wrote:9/12/05 - All in all it was a good experience and i would recommend Rainier for overseas moving. Read below for additional details.

I won't go into too many details on how I ended up working with Rainier Overseas shipping (this site had a lot do with it), but Doug has been pretty quick to give me a quote and a fairly reasonable estimate of how long it would take to get my shipment. I had a partial container shipment twenty some boxes. The quote has been fairly accurate, the estimate on duration close enough and the company was responsive to inquiries.

I dropped off my boxed at a warehouse in Alexandria (washington DC metro) they crated them and shipped them to Bucharest Romania where i picked it up from customs as I was able to do that part more effectively myself. I specifically asked for a warehouse to warehouse quote due to timing reasons when I shipped and cost reasons when receiving.

A few things you should know though:

- the Cubic Feet quote is based on how big your crate will be and in my case due to some odd-sized items the difference between the two was a little bigger than I expected (120 CF calculated volume for my boxes and 200 CF the smallest crate they could fit them in).

- you will have to pay some local terminal fees that are not included in what Rainier quoted for my particular service - in my case they added about 10% of the initial invoice. Doug said "It is common to have local terminal fees at destn terminal [usually around $40.00/CBM]....and these must be paid by you in local currency, so we can never include them in our rates.".

- you probably want to get some extra insurance for your valuables and that's extra. True, I only had one plate broken from the entire shipment but you never know.

Good luck with your move.

Valentin -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5940

A moverpro subsequently clarified the reason for some issues (additional cubic feet and local terminal fees) mentioned in the preceding post:
hardatwork wrote:9/13/05 - As it seems the goods were loaded into a standard lift van which is 200 cubic feet my guess is he wasn't cheated but was treated fairly by a professional international mover.

Again as client says his shipment was Warehouse to Warehouse and not through to his residence door, as is standard practice with a professional internaitonal mover, the local terminal charges would not be included in his quote. . . . If the shipment was Door to Door then they would be included. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5940 . . .

That client wanted a Warehouse to Warehouse only not a Door to Door move and the above fees are normally not prepaid by the mover because it is paid in the local currency. Rainer could have prepaid and included in their quote to that client. If Rainer had it would have had to wire transffer the small amount of funds to the agent and the client would have incurred the cost of the wire transfer. So Rainer saved the client moeny by asking them to pay directly to agent at destination when the client picked up his shipment. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5743

We have a negative post on a completed move that was added to the end of this thread by a previously unknown poster. We have no idea who this individual is and he could even be one of Rainier's competitors.
Marwood wrote:9/19/05 - I used Ranier recently based partly on the reviews posted here. My experience was not nearly as positive as other posters. Ranier were very efficient at first, up to the point of signing an agreement. I should have become suspicious at their reluctance to provide a detailed written qoute. They qouted based on a in-home estimate one week prior to pack-up and move.

On the day of packing the movers estimated the volume to be about 30% greater than the estimate the week before and were correct. Ranier then advised me that my shipment would not occur on the date they originally qouted, delayed due to a public holiday. When I called to complain about being lowballed on the qoute, I was treated to a series of well rehearsed replies. They could not explain how they failed to notice memorial day when they did the initial estimate of sailing date. I was left with the impression that the person on the other end of the phone had heard the same complaints many times before. My shipment eventually arrived, mostly intact at far greater expense than qouted. I would caution against moving with Ranier. It appears to me that the qoute low, charge high and minimise the paper trail methodology is standard here. I would not use this company again
.

I commented on this post as follows:
Diane wrote:I will add your comments to our review thread on Rainier. The company can respond if it wishes. I should tell you that in similar cases, companies often argue that the customer added items that were not shown in the original walk-through.

We have a rave review of Rainier (and the origin and destination agents, Avatar Moving Systems and Goetz Moving) on a completed move to Manila:
John Leone wrote:10/5/05 - I used the information found at web-advice.ru to evaluate a mover for my planned international household goods move in July, 2005. I found Avatar, an Atlas Van Lines agent, and determined they had a good reputation, were associated with a large US moving company, and were fully insured.

Chris Noblit, the Avatar representative, came to my home, gave me an accurate estimate, and assisted me with information required for an international move. Their estimate was middle-of-the road (not the highest or lowest of the companies I evaluated), but the estimate was the all-inclusive price for a door-to-door, 10,000 pound international move. I was only responsible for taxes, duties and demurrage for any container delay which was not caused by the moving company or forwarder. I selected them as my mover. I paid for the move with a credit card.

The Avatar employees who packed and shipped the household items were professional and courteous. They arrived on time, took great care packing and loading my furniture and household goods. The forwarder Avatar selected, Rainier, helped me track my shipment and provided an accurate ETA for the arrival in Manila.

The agent on the receiving side, Goetz Moving, provided country-specific assistance that was an enormous help with in dealing with the country’s government. Phyllis Encluna, the Goetz agent, handled the customs and tax issues for me satisfactorily. Goetz delivered the shipment as promised. All my household items arrived safely. There was no additional charge except for $60.00 due to a delay in the receiving country customs. Everything else was included in Chris Noblit’s quoted price.

I want to thank Avatar, Rainier, and Goetz for their honesty, help, and professionalism in this move.

Sincerely, John M. Leone - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6193

We have a rave review of Rainier on a completed move from Phoenix to Australia, praising Rick Schlegel at Rainier:
neti wrote: 10/28/05 - Hi, we recently completed a move from Phoenix, USA, to Sydney, Australia. Since I used these message boards extensively while looking for a moving company, I thought it's only right to come back with a report: we used Rainier Overseas Movers, and we were COMPLETELY happy.

We paid extra to have our stuff on a direct steamship, and it actually arrived in Sydney a week before the due date! Nothing broken, nothing lost. Our contact at Rainier was Rick Schlegel, and he was very friendly, informative and helpful, laying (most of) our scamfears to rest.

In Arizona our stuff was packed by Arizona Moving & Storage - nice guys, but MAN the labels on those boxes were nondescript! Not really their fault though, since everything was in boxes in storage already, and like I said, everything arrived intact. In Sydney our stuff was received and delivered by Australian Vanlines. I found them to be a little bit slower than I would've liked with returning phonecalls, giving information, etc, but once I was sitting on my own couch all was forgiven. I'd be happy to answer any questions anybody might have, and good luck! - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6123

I am re-posting a not-so-good preliminary report by "tricialu" on a shipment from San Francisco to Australia (Gold Coast):
tricialu wrote:1/22/06 - I started this post ages ago and thought I would give an update. It has been 5 months (packed on aug 22 2005, and it is SUPPOSED to arrive today, jan 23 2006). I chose rainiers because it was much recommended here, even though it was a few hundred more than other quotes I got. Currently, the total is US$3500 (after customs) door to door from san francisco to the gold coast, australia. 1600 lbs, exactly 1 liftvan (195 cubic feet?).

I haven't been totally happy at this point. The local movers that they hired to pack my stuff broke my teapot by trying to jam it into a cardboard box with hardly any padding. Apparently, it is standard to only use brown paper to wrap. Bubble wrap etc is extra though I wasn't ever informed or given a choice. I don't think the local packers packed better than I could have. Communication has been very minimal. I got the letter to pay the amount before shipment. A month later, an email saying that it would arrive in australia on oct 11, 2005 (7 weeks total).

About 2 months later, I got a letter saying that it is clearing customs and to pay the amount (15 weeks total). Nothing for another month (19 weeks total). I had to call a few times to the local company here in australia (chess movers) and nobody seems to have much of an idea on where my stuff was or the timeframe we were looking at. I was given an estimate of about 10-12 weeks...... it has been 20 weeks. We'll see if it actually arrives today. Nobody has ever called to say it is coming today or what time. I had to call twice 2 weeks ago and someone from chess mentioned today but said that someone would call to confirm (they didn't). For the amount I am paying and the recommendation on this board, I would have expected much better service. I guess I'm just happy if it arrives in one piece at this point!

I remembered that "hardatwork" had made the following comment to her at the beginning, and I remarked that he was right about the long transit time:
hardatwork wrote: Ask them how long it will take to get to the Gold Coast. Movers all quote 6 to 8 weeks but it will normally take longer. It will depend on how quickly they can get in on a ship, they should be able to tell you this. Most will be using a consoildation services which means they will ship once they have enough to fill a container which could take ??? time Then the time the ship takes to arrive in Australia different shipoping servies take 21 to 35 days or longer. After arrival how long does it take for customs and quarantine release? Then ask for the time to move your goods to the Gold Coast. I know the area and I know there is not a lot of moves in and out of there and you could be looking at a delay in getting your goods to be delivered. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4625

We have a very good report by "stellarenergy" on a shipment from to NJ to Sydney, Australia where University Van Lines was the estimator and packer and Rainier was the freight forwarder:
stellarenergy wrote:1/23/06 - In mid-2005, my wife and I decided to leave northern New Jersey, and move to Sydney, Australia, aiming for departure in the last quarter of 2005. We planned on moving the contents of our 1-bedroom home, and our idea was to obtain a sea-going container and ship it all. I estimated that we could do this for somewhere between USD $3000 and $6000.

I began by measuring our furniture and other belongings, putting it all in a spreadsheet, and calculating the volume of the goods. I came up with a figure of 900 cubic feet, which seemed reasonable since we lived in a small home.

Like so many other people who have to move, I started out Googling to find out how I might do this – to identify companies who would take care of the packing, moving and shipping; also perhaps I could purchase a container, pack it myself and ship it myself too…

I discovered that the ‘do-it-yourself’ approach wasn’t really feasible. I could easily buy a container, but the drop-off and pick-up would be very problematic. They don’t seem to have side-loading container trucks in NJ/NY, so the container would have to have been slid on & off a truck bed (crushing the contents), or I would also have to purchase/hire a trailer, leaving the container 4 feet of the ground. I gave up on that idea.

Google showed me probably hundreds of companies who would do the packing & shipping. I sent e-mail enquiries to about 20, giving them my cubic foot estimate and asking for a quote. Plenty came back under $2000, which I was suspicious of, and ignored. The ones who came back with reasonable estimates, I called and chatted with. I liked a company in California) and one in New York. I asked them both to send an estimator to assess our goods and give a firm quote.

The NY company sent an estimator who left a brochure in my letterbox, but didn’t actually do any assessment, so I crossed them off. The California company sent an assessor from a NY moving company who did not leave us with a confident feeling. I felt suspicious about him and the company.

It was then that I started Googling the company, and discovered the web-advice.ru website. The reviews of this company weren’t great, and so I read the “sticky” in the International Moves message board titled “Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)”. It was excellent! I took the advice in the sticky, called all four of the companies listed, explained my situation, and asked each of them for a quote.

They all responded quickly, and it was Rainier who supplied the lowest quote (about $6000). I asked Doug Wiviott who the moving company would be, and his first recommendation was the company who I was suspicious about. I asked him for an alternate moving company. He suggested University Van Lines in NJ, I did a quick check on web-advice.ru, they sounded great, and so we organized for them to come out and assess.

Their assessor, Mr. Quigley, was excellent – punctual, friendly and thorough. They came back with a great quote, and we set a date for the move. Because of the short notice we had given, the pack was split over a Friday and the following Monday. There was a team of 3 movers on Friday, and 4 on Monday, and they were again, excellent. They wrapped ALL furniture and large items in bubble wrap, used paper to pad out all boxes, and did not even take a lunch break! We were delighted, and they took great care with our belongings. We were given an itemized list of contents (144 items). They packed their truck and took everything back to their depot to pack the 20’ container.

The container itself departed Port Newark a little over a week later, and we were faxed the bill of lading by Doug at Rainier. It was due to arrive in Sydney in late December.

It did arrive at the end of December, I engaged a Customs Agent in Sydney to deal with transportation, clearance and quarantine. We inspected the contents ourselves last week, and every item was intact and in good condition. We were, again delighted by the conscientious job done by University Van Lines!

I heartily recommend University Van Lines (The Quigley Brothers and team), and Rainier Overseas Moving (Doug Wiviott and team). . . .

1/24/06 - Shipping took approximately nine weeks (all November and December) with the container leaving Port Newark NJ and arriving in Sydney, Australia. I suspect (but did not confirm) that the container travelled NJ to Singapore, and then down to Sydney.

I made it clear to RainierOS that I was NOT in a hurry to have the goods arrive in Australia because Jennifer and myself went on a six-week roadtrip across the USA, and wanted to make sure that we arrived in Sydney before the container. You may be able to ask for your container to be booked on a vessel that takes a shorter route.

It took a further two weeks from the container's arrival in Sydney until the container was inspected and cleared by Customs and AQIS.

In terms of costs, in the USA they were what we were quoted by RainierOS. In Australia, I engaged a Customs Agent to take care of all the paperwork etc., for Customs and Quarantine and his costs were higher than originally quoted. I think this was due to the fact that I opted to have all goods moved from the delivery container to another container for long-term storage, while I find work and a new home.

Michael -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7080

There is a good preliminary report by "jonesnessl" on Rainier (Cesar Castro) on a shipment from the Miami area to Costa Rica. She also mentions LTV International, Suddath International, and Stevens (Alan Fuchs) in favorable terms:
jonesnessl wrote:2/8/06 - After what felt like a billion quotes, and having all but 4 (out of what was really 37) turn up negative ratings here...(well I do live in Florida after all!!) I went with Ranier. Cesar Castro was fantastic. He knew the company i work for and had moved a bunch of our high level execs (several times each) and so I felt very reassured. Ranier used local company LTV International out of Miami (FIDI member), and the movers were courteous, efficient and quite honestly a pleasure to do business with. . . .

It is a company paid move, however one that I have to foot the bill for first, then be reimbursed. I really wanted to keep the cost down for that reason alone! The cost on the move was $3075, with $25 per $1000 value for insurance. Seeing I am mostly moving clothing, kitchen wares, and a bed and sofa (about 1250 lbs) ...not too much needed. I also got a quote from Suddath International (also FIDI) out of Jacksonville, who were only slightly higher, but had problems getting timely responses for their quote from their Costa Rican agent....made me nervous! I also have to say that Stevens International gave me a great quote too, and their customer service from Alan Fuchs was top notch - I was just under too many time constraints to work around their schedule. I fly out tomorrow! - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7179

There is a rave review by "gill" of a completed move from MD to Northern Ireland:
gill wrote:3/3/06 - A great move.. Just to let you know that we have just received our shipment of household goods from Md to N Ireland with Rainier.

We had door-to-door quotes from Wheaton, Sterling Int'l and Rainier. Sterling and Wheaton both quoted approx $10750 based on a weight of 13000lbs in a 40ft container. (Cu ft were 1840 and 2077 respectively, not including ins). This included a packing service and all materials.

Rainier's quote was much more affordable, and because of the good reccommendations on this site, I felt they were not low-balling just to get the business. Their estimated volume was 1950CF in a 40 ft container, and included all packing and materials. They gave us a door-to-door quote of $7850 and a door-to-port option of $5850, excuding insurance.

After a bit of research, we went for the door-to-port option. Using the shipping company, they arranged for customs clearance, terminal handling charges, agent charge and haulage (95 miles from the port) all for 380stg (approx $645).

So including insurance of $23 per $1000, we have paid about $7045 for a very full 40ft container from Md to N Ireland. Excellent value. In addition, the local movers (Aarid Enterprises) in Baltimore were efficient, professional and did a great job.

This was also done under a very tight timescale. After one contract falling through on our house, another one came much quicker than expected, and from initial contact to settlement was just under 4 weeks. Doug was helpful in answering my many queries, and kept me informed throughout.

My initial concerns about our goods being held to ransom didn't happpen and we paid exactly what we were quoted.

All in all, as stress-free as it could have been! Hope this helps someone like me...

3/6/06 - [To arrange delivery in Ireland] I contacted the shipping company used by Rainier who were Mediterranean Shipping Company. The have an office in Belfast and I called them direct. They then arranged customs clearance and haulage - very efficient and accurate with charges.

I didn't deliberately choose MSC, I used them because that's whose ship my container was on. I didn't know who it was until I received details of the sailing from Rainier once my stuff was on its way.

The posts I had read on this site concerned me a little, giving me the impression that if I chose the door-to-port option I would have nothing but hassle and extra expenses, and would be better off paying the door-to-door rate. It was very straightforward and less expensive for me.
Gill -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7435

3/8/06 - I used Rainier and although we were about 25 miles south of DC, they used Aarid Enterprises based in Baltimore [for packing and loading services at origin]. They were vg - maybe Rainier used a Baltimore based co for convenience to the port.
Gill -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 3823#53823

We have an excellent report by "shannelle" on a completed move from Georgia to South Africa with Rainier:
shannelle wrote:5/28/06 - For anyone needing to move overseas, I just want to recomend a great company. I just moved to South Africa from Atlanta, Georgia and it took me a year of dealing with a few bad moving companies until someone finally suggested Rainier Overseas Movers (RAINIEROS.COM). I contacted Doug, who is the director of the company and also the person who I was dealing with throughout the entire process.The service was great, and everyone was so helpful and patient with me. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8456

We have a very good report on a completed move with Rainier by "c" (who moved to Scandinavia, I believe, judging from where the post came from):
c wrote:7/11/06 - I want to thank web-advice.ru for the information contained on this sight.

When planning the move this sight recommended Rainier Overseas and after contacting other companies, I went with them.

Sonja was helpful, the price competitive and the move went as planned. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9148

We have a good preliminary report by "miqqy" on an uncompleted move with Rainier (and Meyers Moving) from NYC to Pakistan:
miqqy wrote:7/31/06 - I ended up going with Ranier for my International move to Pakistan, and they sent in Meyers Moving to handle my New York pickup. I was really happy with how quick and efficient they were. Everything was packed really well. Some of my guitars were in soft cases and I was a bit worried about how well they would be packed, but they did quite a good job. This is, however, my initial oppinion. I was get back to you on the condition that the shipment arrives in in Karachi. Ranier has been really good as well. I was dealing with Doug Wiviott and he was really quick in replying to emails and was readily available for whatever question I had. They picked up my shipment on the 30th of June, the shipment left New York on the 12th of July, and is scheduled to arrive in Karachi on the 9th of August.

I will get back to you guys letting you know how it ends up, and if I have some good stories from customs in Karachi, Pakistan. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8494

There's a good preliminary report by "heimwaerts" on a 9/06 shipment including a car from Southern CA to Germany, the only hitch being that the price went up from $10,000 to $11,300 as a result of extra weight and items, according to the company that packed the shipment (Sullivan Moving in Vista, CA):
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10202

We have a very good review of a 1996 shipment to Israel - note that this was 10 years ago:
Happy move wrote:10/22/06 - I moved from San Diego to Israel in 1996 using Rainier Overseas.

Their competitive estimates in their quotes were maintained in the final agreement. :D

The delivery was done without damage to my goods. :)

Their service was professional. 8)

The only mar in their service was their clearing agent in Israel which provided the service but did not go out of their way to expedite the release from cusoms quickly or with the most friendly service. :x - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 3632#73632

"beernut" gave an excellent final report on a successful shipment to Norway:
beernut wrote:9/17/07 - All -

After reading this site religiously before deciding on a mover for our recent move from the US to Norway - I figured I would contribute something back

We decided to go with Rainier for our move (relatively small move 200cuft container plus an extra crate.) They have been helpful throughout the whole process and provided a very competitive rate (they were not the cheapest of the lot - but well worth the extra couple of hundred bucks.)

We had a local mover come to our house and pack up all breakables and electronics etc and they were very professional and did a good job. It left our house on August 2nd and we got it at our new house in Norway on September 13th. All in all not bad considering this is peak season.

We have now gone through all of the boxes and (almost) everything made it fine. Some of the boxes were pretty beat up - but none of our glassware etc was broken.

The only problems we've had is a missing Playstation 3 and an LCD - monitor that no longer works - however, Dave Rainier has been very helpful so far in starting the claims process and such to get the above mentioned pieces replaced.

All in all - we are very happy with the move. Everything was done in a very timely fashion - and Dave was very helpful when we ran into a bit of a snag with our US bank in getting payment to them for the move. In reading some of the other horror stories here - we're quite pleased that we only had such minimal breakage in our move.

Cheers -
Beernut - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14826

There is also a favorable review by "Traci" of a completed move to Hawaii:
Traci wrote:5/23/07 - We moved from Sacramento to Maui a year and a half ago. We used Bekins Moving & Storage (after almost being scammed by a mover we found blacklisted on this site!! Thank you!!) Bekins referred the overseas portion(Hawaii is considered an International move) to Rainier. We had absolutely NO problem with our stuff being picked up ON TIME and it actually arrived a few days before promised! When some of our stuff was damaged (minor scratches and gauges most likely due to rough seas) we filed a claim with Rainier and received settlment of our claim satisfactorily with a couple of weeks of filing it! I would recommend Bekins & Rainier!! - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 8704#88704

We have an excellent report by "bielcik" for a shipment to the Czech Republic:
bielcik wrote:9/19/07 - Dear Friends,
I would like to report about my succesfull moving from New Haven, CT to Praha, Czech Republic.
First I had only one criterion and this was a price for the moving, since
I had to pay it myself. However after reading horror stories on web and here on the forum I got a bit scared. I was short of time and therefore I went and asked for a quote a couple of companies on WEB and also 4 companies recommened here.
The offers for moving 350 cubic feet of my staff differed from
2600-8000 $. I wanted to go cheap and quick so I have selected
Rainier Overseas Movers, since they offered me a deal closest to my wish.
They offer was $3390.00 for 20ft exlusive container to Prague terminal.
I could load it/uloaded myself and they promised delivery 25-39. This was much faster and safer,compare to other companies where I would share container. Since they did not mind that I occupy only 1/3 of container I did not care about exact volume at the end and it was very practical.

They organize pick up of my stuff on 29-August at 9:00 and the company TSI from NJ did arrive at time. I had 4 hours for loading. I managed in 2
since everything was in U-Haul boxes. :D Mostly I communicated with Doug Wiviott and he responded my emails and phonecalls quickly.

The original estimate of travel was:
Cutting off 8/24, sailing > 8/29 and arriving 9/11.
This sound too optimistic to me, but fine why not.

They gave me a contact to company in Prague who made port-Prague part. It was Euromar Transport. They were very helpfull.
I paid them 43 euro for some extra release fees (I expected ~200$)
and on Sep Fri 14-th I could made a custom declaration. Although I was expecting to arrange my terminal-door delivery myself, they could deliver it to my door without extra costs and on Monday Sep 17-th, I received a container, sealed and all stuff was OK.

I am happy that it went very well and at the end it was only little bit more expensive that my cheapest offer from web but much faster.

I can truly recomend the company. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14839

There's a favorable review by "Chicago2UK" of a completed move from Chicago to England:
Chicago2UK wrote: 11/23/07 - I would like to give a fantastic recommendation to Rainier on a small (one liftvan) move from Chicago to Cambridge UK. I contacted the four international movers recommended on this site, who all came and did visual surveys. Rainier was the cheapest quote and estimated the smallest volume. Stevens and SWI quotes were significantly higher. Sterling never bothered to send a quote. I was a bit nervous that Rainier's estimate was lower - it turned out to be spot on.

Doug Wiviott at Rainier was my contact there. He did a great job keeping me updated and responding to my questions over email almost instantly. The local agents in Chicago were Deerfield and they packed my stuff very carefully and very quickly. Delivery took two weeks over the estimate due to a shipping delay, but I was kept informed.

Local agents in the UK were EuroUSA. They were also great. The delivery address is reached by a narrow one way system and the first truck they sent could not get through and they had to send a small shuttle, causing a couple of hours of delay. I got phone calls every 20 minutes or so updating me on the ETA of the shuttle. The unpackers were very courteous and very careful.

Everything in the shipment was in fantastic condition except for two small items which were inexplicably missing. I don't know how this could have happened since I was present at unpacking and I wonder if the box could have been opened in transit somewhere or at customs. But the insurance process was very fast. I had to report the loss on an online form, and Rainier took care of supplying the required manifests etc to the insurance company. I got a cheque in the mail in about a week.

In summary I highly recommend Rainier and especially Doug Wiviott. http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15189
There is an excellent report by "heyfrito" for a completed shipment from Wisconsin to Germany:
heyfrito wrote:1/7/07 - I can actually give information on a few companies:

The Good:

- Rainier Overseas
- ITO (http://itomoversinternational.com/)

The Bad AND the Ugly:

- Global Ocean Freight (global-oceanfreight.com)

based on my latest experience. I hope it can add to the info so people can make an informed decision when looking for an international mover.

I recently moved with my wife from Wisconsin (nearest metro area Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.) to Nuremberg Germany. Initially I had contacted a company called Global Ocean Freight operating out of Florida. We chose them because they quoted us the lowest price. Needless to say this was before we stumbled upon web-advice.ru. Our stuff was scheduled to be picked up the weekend before we flew. We attempted to push the pick up date further ahead but our agent, Dana at Global Ocean, assured us it would be no problem to meet our anticipated pick up date and we wouldn't be faced with flying to Germany before our stuff got picked up. The moving date was approaching and some of our calls weren't being returned and our inquiries not addressed. After a number of phone calls for each concerned we would eventually get a 'everything is in order' type of generic response and that's that. When our moving date finally arrived we were informed the truck to pick our stuff up had broken down and after a day filled with telephoning came to the realization that Global Ocean would not pick our stuff up before we our flight to Germany. My wife got 'a feeling' (thank god she did) and we did a search for Global Ocean on the internet which brought us to this website. This naturally caused a sinking feeling in our guts. We were actually fortunate for the breakdown I suppose because we dodged a bullet by finding out about the shady practices of Global Ocean BEFORE they actually had our stuff. I called them and told them not to bother picking our stuff up afterall. I'd found this website and they were listed as an untrustworthy company that was involved in web-advice.rus. The lady was speechless for a minute and then just said okay, we'll issue you a refund shortly. Well, we never did get a refund of our deposit but I guess that's a small price to pay compared to some of the horror stories on this forum.

So... we called all the companies recommended in this forum: Southern Winds, Rainier, Stevens and Sterling as well as Graebel. Our deadline was short. We were leaving in 2 days when I started calling and naturally we were stressed. We moved all of our stuff into a storage unit and had to organize the bulk of the move from overseas.

Everyone was relatively friendly that we called with the exception of Sterling who didn't even bother to return any of our telephone calls or emails. Rainier however quoted us a better price than anyone else (significantly better) after doing an inspection (Graebel and Southern Winds also did an inspection) and was infinitely more concerned with what I wanted and how they could accommodate our wishes.

Rich Haas () was great and responsive and always kept us up to date on everything even though we were already in Germany. The pick up went flawlessly (though we did need to have relatives available at the storage unit to oversee the pickup, luckily we had an aunt and uncle in the area) the shipment took longer than expected by nearly two weeks but I can't fault Rainier for that (altogether it was about 6 weeks door to door). The company that Rainier hired to deliver on this side (ITO) was also more than fantastic. Not ONE item was damaged or missing, not a single one. The movers were very friendly and punctual to within 5 minutes of their delivery time estimate even though they hauled everything from Bremen to Nuremberg (an overnight drive) during a snow storm to do it.

ITO's moving crew also reassembled the furniture that we asked them too without any complaints and did so very quickly. We had a relatively small move, everything fit into a small apartment, but it went swimmingly considering that it had to be organized from Germany and documents needed to be sent and signed and all that fun stuff (everything was handled through telephone, email and fax).

All in all, we lost our deposit from the first company we contacted (Global Ocean) and paid more than we'd hoped, but in retrospect we paid a very fair price in the end, we'd hoped to get away with paying an unrealistic price at first, but it's true what they say, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of unrealistically low prices is all I can say after this experience. I can not recommend Rainier and Rich Haas enough. Rich always followed up with me to give me progress reports even if I didn't explicitly ask for one and was willing to do everything we asked of them. We didn't have to repack in Wisconsin before the pickup which was something we expected to have to do and expected to have to pay a good amount more for that service so that was nice as well. The quote that Rainier gave was almost a thousand less than the next lowest bid so cost was also outstanding overall.

I would absolutely go with Rainier again if I ever had to do another overseas move my experience was really top notch.

If anyone out there is considering Rainier and has any questions about them please feel free to contact me I'd be happy to give more information if I have it.

Thanks,
Andy :) - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 052#102052


[Editor's note by Diane: See the next post for more reviews of Rainier.]

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Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby twalker » Tue Apr 26, 2005 8:11 pm

This post continues reviews of Rainier Overseas Movers.

[Editor's note by Diane: These reviews were compiled by me and not by "twalker" as the author space indicates (sorry - formatting problems).]

Rainier Overseas Movers at rainieros.com (continued)

There is an excellent review by “2philippines” for a completed move from Connecticut to the Philippines:
2philippines wrote: 1/14/08 - i relocated last july 2007. my shipment consisted of around 200cu ft of household goods and a full-size van ford e-250. the whole shipment required pick-up and packing from my connecticut residence and delivered to the port of manila in a 40ft container. in manila, i hired a local broker to take care of my shipments release from customs.

i contacted rainier, swi, stevens, and sterling. sterling's quote was too expensive. swi never replied. stevens took some info but never called back. and doug wiviot of rainier gave me the most reasonable quote and answered every questions i had over the phone and email at the time. Needless to say, I went with rainier.

the local mover was rogovin (allied vanlines). they came and packed, and loaded all my household items on schedule. doug wiviot helped me work out a target date for pick-up and delivery based on the shipping lines schedule so that the shipment and i would arrive almost at the same time. but due to some typhoon off the coast of Taiwan my shipment was delayed by a couple of weeks. OOCL, the shipping line kept me informed. when the shipment finally arrived in manila at the rescheduled date, customs had a little problem with the bill of lading. i called and emailed doug right away, he responded quickly and fixed the problem instantly.

when the container was opened in manila, i requested to be present to survey the items. everything looked good and my vehicle had no new visible scratches. i don't know how they stuffed that huge van in there but it went in and out without a scratch. and when my broker delivered my household items at home, i checked every item again and it was still well packed and no missing items.

all in all, my shipment went very well. rainier did an excellent job in keeping me informed and updated about my shipment. not to mention their very competitive pricing. i highly recommend rainier to anyone moving overseas. many thanks to doug wiviot!! - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15435
There is an excellent review from “treesaregreen” for a shipment from NY to the UK:
treesaregreen wrote:1/18/08 - I ended up shipping my things with Rainer. They were the cheapest of all the places I asked. I had a very good experience with Rainer. I dealt with Mark Lawson who was great. He guided me through all the steps from the US and their UK rep was very helpful.

I got my goods earlier than the 2 month shipping estimate. Everything arrived in the condition that it left in. I would definitely use Rainer again.
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14893
There is a rave review of a completed shipment from Paris to Tucson, AZ - "a REAL success story":
Yomala wrote:1/29/08 - Here's the account of our successfully completed move from Paris, France to Tucson, AZ. We were moving our small one bedroom apartment for the total volume of 249 cuft / 7 m3 in a shared container. The routing was through port Le Havre in France and port Houston at destination in the US.

The move contractor was Rainier Overseas Movers. Our main contact there was Doug Wiviott, tel. +1 800 426 99 28. The local agent in France was Neer Service, our contact was Cedric Zibi, tel. +33 1 48 35 47 00. The local agent in Tucson was Citizens Transfer, tel. 520 623 63 01.

We have obtained the price quotes from something like 8 companies, including the 4 international moving companies praised on this site. The European based companies were out of the game from the outset because they were quoting in euros and were generally at least 30% more expensive than their American competitors, due to the currency exchange rate I believe. Amongst the 4 companies recommended here, Southern Winds do not do any Europe to US business, Stevens were way too expensive and Sterling wanted to ship our stuff through Belgium for cost saving purposes and did not want to do any in home survey, since they only have the local agent in Belgium, as I understood.

As for our champion Rainier, they sent a local French agent straight away for the in home survey, and the manager appeared really knowledgeable and professional to us. Price-wise, Rainier were the second least expensive but they have kindly agreed to match the lowest quote of Sterling. So, our choice was quickly made!

The pick up date in Paris was 29 November 2007. The packing was all done by Neer service. These guys did an outstanding job! All our stuff has arrived in perfect condition, nothing missing or damaged. Not even the wine glasses!! Our special praise therefore goes to this team, they showed up on time, packed our apartment extremely efficiently in less than 3 hours and were extremely careful about everything! Even our neighbor, a retired manager in the construction business who has a lawsuit open against every possible service provider he ever dealt with, told me that our movers were very “soigneux” (careful, rigorous in French) and asked for their contact details!

Rainier estimated the move duration at 35 – 50 days. Our stuff has arrived at our home in Tucson on 21 January 2008. Exactly 50 days!! Perfect timing, particularly that there were Christmas and New Years holidays in between! Total volume of our goods packed and crated in port has turned out to be a little over the original estimate (and so was the final price?) but it appears that this is normal and the measurement is actually done and communicated by port people, not the movers.

In summary, we lived a move that was well prepared, went as expected, our things arrived on time and in good shape without us going broke!

We are happy to recommend Rainier Movers as an overall move coordinator and Neer Service for the excellent pack up job!

P.S. The funny thing is that I found this site while searching for references for Coral Sea Shipping who called us based on the online fee quote that we asked for at 123movers.com. At the time I was considering to go with the Coral Sea Shipping that turned out to be a total scam and this site has protected us from the thieves and directed towards reputable movers! Many thanks to web-advice.ru founders and permanent contributors. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15524

There is an incidental good mention of Rainier as forwarder for a move booked by Laser International from Chicago to Paris (the review is mostly about Laser):
petit_requin wrote: 2/10/08 - I wanted to share our pleasant moving experience with Laser International (they are an agent of Rainier, which was the forwarder). Our move was 320 c.f., from Chicago to Paris. Dec 10 was when our things were packed and loaded, we received them in Paris on Feb 7. Fast and efficient.

The LI representative came to do a in-home survey and gave us an estimate. He explained the whole shipping process and the steps involved, and the quote we got from LI was the best of the several companies we looked into. Communication with LI was easy, they were available, responsive and flexible regarding the type of contract we wanted. We scheduled the move day for Dec 10, the movers came on time and were great (ask from Vincent). They packed everything thoroughly, were very efficient and professional. The weight of our load ended up being a bit under what was estimated (we paid for what the real weight was).

Our things arrived in the UK end of January, and the company who took over the transportation from UK to Paris was Euro USA. There were a couple of issues we had with them (inspection fee for which we didn't get a proof of charges and delivery above 2nd floor fee, which we weren't aware of when we signed with LI - there are 2 posts on the board regarding these issues). In any case we didn't pay for any of the fees, and I guess that this is the good deed of LI who was involved in communication and figured things our with Euro USA. Scheduling delivery with Euro USA was easy, they were flexible and accommodating to our schedule regarding the delivery date. Their movers came on time and were very nice and fast. We got all the boxes, nothing was missing, and only one glass broke. So, I would recommend LI for anyone moving overseas, and don't hesitate to complain if things don't seem right. LI was very helpful in the terms of keeping the costumer happy. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15580

There's another good review on the same thread where Laser was the booker and Rainier was the forwarder:
aragao.silva wrote:3/25/08 - hi, I'd like to agree and share my good experience with Laser International... I moved from Chicago (Hoffman Estates) to Sao Paulo (Brazil) and after a lot of research I choose Laser which was by far the most expensive but at the same time the only one I felt confortable with. I made the right choice. My move left on November 6th, 2007 and arrived in Brazil in the first week of January. Laser used Rainier as their forwarder (Rainier is an excelent company, I talked to a brazilian guy that works for Rainier and he helped me a lot understanding the brazilian clearance process). Laser also used Lusitana as their brazilian peer and Lusitana proved to be an incredible company, extremely professional and careful, they provided me a lot of support and made everything super-smooth in the brazilian side. It was expensive, total cost was about 6.500 (almost 2.000 dollars to pay for the brazilian terminal handling and other taxes), but the good thing is that Laser made me aware of these taxes from the beggining, the whole process was very transparent and I felt both Laser, Rainier and Lusitana were honesty and careful with my belongings.

my advices: plan your move carefully, don't choose based solely on price (the cheap can be expensive in the end), don't let the moving company do all of the stuff for you, do whatever you can yourself and get involved with all the moving details, make as many questions as you need to feel confortable - they don't like too many questions but you are paying, so if they don't feel like answering make sure they understand you won't feel like paying them as well... also, pay a lot of attention to the insurance (I insured absolutely everything with replacement cost - this will make sure the moving company and forwarder will pay extra attention to your belongings) and make sure you are prepared for the taxes to be paid in the destination.

final note: I strongly recommend Laser, Rainier and Lusitana. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 807#105807

There is a rave review of a completed move from Florida to Belgium:
turbunator123 wrote: 2/26/08 - I am greatly thankful to this website for my great experience with Rainier Overseas Movers for my move from florida to belgium.

I was about to do my moving from those online scammers. The one night I decided to get some reviews for internationals movers and found this website.

After getting 3 qoutes from different movers I decided to use the services of Rainier Overseas Movers (someone on this website told me the flaws other qoutes had).

I got a qoute of $8000+ for 20 cubic feet container and for 40 feet it was $500 extra. There was no extra cost if I exceed the weight or anything like that.

The packers came in time to pack my stuff on 30th of Nov. Packed the stuff up in two days. I left the stuff in their storage for 2 months as I went to india from US before going to belgium.

I emailed Dave (Rainier Overseas Movers) in the last week of Jan. 2008 that I would like to get my stuff in belgium at around 20th of Feb and my stuff was delivered on 25th of Feb. WOILLA!!!!!

No breakage and delays of any sort. Just the way it should be done. Thanks... - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15658

We have a very good report on a completed move from MI to Germany:
bono269 wrote:3/22/08 - We moved from Ann Arbor, MI to Berlin, Germany last July. As everyone else I got great quotes and calls from various companies, that I then confronted with what I found on web-advice.ru. Oddly enough, I didn't hear from them again. Anyway, I got a really nice impression from Dave Wiviott from Rainer. The local company they worked with in Ann Arbor is called Frisbie. They were reliable, ok but need a kick in the butt from Dave, since they were not really good with getting and staying in touch.
We had prepared the move from months and packed thring up in our boxes (that I ordered from Sam's Club). Dave was quite uneasy about the fact, that I had packed things already and said that it will cause issues with the insurance and that I need to unpack because the movers will have to pack everything. Good thing, that only thisone time, I didn't listen to him. I didn't unpack things and opened the tape for some ofthe bigger boxes.Besides we wrote the main content with a Sharpie on the boxes. The 2 guys from Frisbie were happy about that. They copied down what was on the boxes and didn't want to see anything. Things were sent off from Ann Arbor on June 22nd and should not take longer than 6-8 weeks.

The company handling things in Germany was ITO. They were easy to get in contact with but I guess they were really busy. It took 9.5 weeks until our stuff arrived in Berlin because of several delays along the way. So, I think one should see those promised shipping times as approximations. To my surprise however, our stuff was not the in the two wooden boxes anymore on the trauck and some of the stuff was repacked. Since we had 66 items, it was hard to keep track of all of them and beside a couple of bowls and cups that were broken everything was fine. However, we still miss a couple of things were we could have sworn we packed them. It all depends on how careful you are in monitoring. I guess a more detailed inventory would have helps but we had one small baby to move too, so there was bascially no time.

Overall, I would rate the move between good and very good. Nothing is perfect, but I felt we were in good hands with Rainer and especially Dave. We got a quote from Allied too but that was 2.5 times as high and would have taken longer too. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15808

We have an excellent report on a car shipment to Sweden:
SwedishFish wrote:4/18/08 - I shipped my car over using Rainier at a cost of $1800 for RO/RO from Long Beach, CA to Gothenburg Sweden. Took one month and . . . no hassles. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 248#107248[/color]

We have an excellent report on a move from Sweden to Atlanta arranged by Rainier:
traveler wrote: 8/24/08 - Did research on this site and after getting 3 quotes I went with Rainier Overseas Movers. We moved from Sweden to Atlanta GA with a full 20' container. Everything went very well. All the way from the local packer in Sweden [Alfa Moving] to the transit time, communication while in transit and unloading [by an Allied agent] in the US. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17176


A review posted to the comments section of the site in a move from Scarsdale to Tarragona:
guest wrote: 4/14/11 - The move from Scarsdale to Tarragona went very well. I was very pleased with the level of service and the professionalism shown from the staff in NY and from the company in Tarragona. The goods were packed carefully and nothing was broken. I only have good words for the excellent job done by the company and I will recommend Rainier Overseas Movers to anyone ready to move.


Contact information for Rainier Overseas: phone or x220 (ask for Doug).

[Editor's note by Diane: See the next post for reviews of Southern Winds International.]

Diane (continued)

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby Diane (continued) » Sat May 14, 2005 5:46 pm

This post brings together reviews of Southern Winds International.

Southern Winds International at swintl.com

We have a rave review by "Jules P." of a completed move with Southern Winds from Sacramento to Australia:
Jules P. wrote:8/2/06 - I had a fantastic experience with Southern Winds for our move from Sacramento, CA to Canberra, Australia. We shipped a 20' container and much of it was filled with my husband's construction tools. Michael Gilbert at Southern Winds was GREAT, as was George Cooper, our contact at Aus Van Lines here. The origin agent, Broadway Movers out of Vallejo, was very good; they professionally packed our house in 4 hours and did a stellar job. Our container was delivered yesterday and everything is fine! The communication we received from everyone was very good, and we had no problems with the customs/quantine end of things. (We had to have 2 items steam cleaned, but all of this was clearly explained to us). Our price was good too.

We are very happy we chose Southern Winds!! -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9531

8/2/06 - When we got quotes for our move . . . Stevens was the highest. We got quotes from Rainier and Southern Winds.

Southern Winds was the least expensive but also had the best customer service from the sales office by a long shot. Rainier's local agent was very good, I have to say, and if we had gotten more responsive treatment from the sales office, I might have gone with them.

I don't think price alone is a reason to choose one company over the other, but for us the cheapest also offered the best customer service and we felt comfortable with the origin and destination agents.

In the end Southern Winds did a great job for us. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 7345#67345

There is an excellent review by "CazMax" of a completed move with Southern Winds from Seattle to Australia:
CazMax wrote:9/14/06 - We used Southern Winds International to move about 2000 lbs of goods from Seattle to Melbourne, Australia and everything went very smoothly and all of our goods arrived with no damage to anything. We highly recommend this company. Michael Gilbert was our SWINTL contact and was very responsive to all my questions both prior to and after the packing up of our goods. The local agent in Seattle (Tacoma) was Lincoln Moving and Storage and in Australia it was Transglobal Shipping and Storage. Both local agents also provided excellent service.
In addition to SWINTL, we obtained quotes from Rainier and Stevens. Rainier gave us a quote for shipment of 10,000 lbs of goods to Sydney - far exceeding the weight of what we wanted shipped and to the wrong city. Stevens gave us a quote that underestimated the weight and cubic feet but was still higher than what SWINTL quoted.
SWINTL's estimate was within 150 lbs of the final weight and 15 cubic feet of the final volume. Transit time was also within what was quoted (5-6 weeks). - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10000

"mw210461" (Michael) posted a good preliminary review of a shipment from CO to Germany, but reported later that some of his things were apparently repackaged, resulting in fewer boxes being delivered and other problems:
mw210461 wrote:10/1/06 - I decided to go with SouthernWinds (one of the recommended ones here).
Despite their higher quote ($4500, 15% above the next best one, 40% above the most dubious PriceBreak(!)Shipping), still way below others) they gave me a very detailed process description, used ample 'slack' calculations for the bundling/palletizing process, so I hopefully do not have to expect any negative surprises with them.
A quote from an unknown shipper in Oakland, CA was too dubious: first they could not convert cft to m3 (c'mon, a shipper doesn't know that??),
then they 'forgot' to include costs for palletizing/bundling and lastly all calculations up to the very end still only used my NET numbers for weight/volume, KNOWING that the crated shipment will be bigger and drive up costs in unspecified ways - they even admitted that.

Pick-up is arranged for Oct-16 now, SouthernWinds calculates EIGHT weeks (all others said 5, mmh?) for the shipment from CO to the center of Germany, and I want to make sure all arrives prior to the holidays. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 2239#72239

1/17/07 - I chose Southern Winds for an international shipment of personal goods; they were recommeded on this site.

Based on my own experience I can only call them incompetent and dishonest.
While I paid for a CRATED door2door service they sent my selfpacked boxes individually, overseas, as LOOSE cargo.
They subsequently lost 4 of my 89 boxes entirely, other boxes were torn and mangled beyond recognition.
The movers even went through my belongings in my absence, cut and reshaped boxes to make them 'fit', ie thy reduced the (paid for!) shipping volume. In some cases all address/number labels were removed that way! During that process they removed and damaged many items.
In the end I was handed loose articles (even my own tax documents) right out of the moving truck at the destination!

I could settle with Southern Winds for a refund of 10% (i.e. $450), the losses, damage and agony is mine to keep. Among the items I am missing today is an entire collection of rare 78rpm shellac records from the 1920s.

I feel betrayed and cheated by Southern Winds, they breeched the contract by shipping outside of paid for containers and endangered my (knowingly uninsured) items that way.

STAY AWAY, DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT THEY TELL YOU ON THE PHONE.
Especially their description of the entire process turned out to be a lie.

If you want to see evidence and pictures of boxes before/after, contact me.
If you know how to further publish this experience (online, media), contact me as well. I want to ensure that no one else can be treated this way again!

To read the entire shipping story, check out the thread
'HELP: 320cft (4000lbs) from CO to Germany - what to expect?' in the international forum. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11009

There is an excellent review by "irishmoved" of a completed move with Southern Winds from New York City to Dublin:
irishmoved wrote: 1/31/07 - I moved to Dublin from NYC and chose Southern Winds based on the information on this site. They made the experience as painless as possible. Everyone I dealt with, both at Southern Winds and at the other firms they sub-contracted out to, was courteous and professional. All my questions and concerns (and I had a few) were answered. The final price was reasonable (and significantly less than the initial provisional estimate). They estimated a delivery time of 4-8 weeks and my goods arrived in 6 weeks. . . . Stateside, Atlas [University Van Lines] did the packing. On the European side it was Simpson's in the UK (Southern Winds said they normally ship to Europe via the UK). . . .
2/2/07 - The final cost (excluding insurance) was $3552.50 for 203 cft; this figure was calculated 2 or 3 days after the stuff was packed and taken away. I now forget eaxctly how much the original estimate was, but it was over $6000: as I said, a substantial (and appreciated) difference.

I contacted Rainier but they never called back so I didn't pursue them any further. I also contacted two other places but I forget which ones now.

If you're moving to Ireland I should mention one thing about Southern Winds. They ship to the UK, where it clears EU customs and then it comes over to Ireland. They explained that this procedure takes more time but costs less. In the UK, Simpson's took over the customs and delivery procedure. It takes about 5-10 business days for stuff to clear customs then Simpson's stores it until they have enough different shipments to send over to Ireland. It was about a 2 week gap between when the shipmnet arrived in the UK and when the truck came to my door (as I said in my original post, the delivery was well within the estimated time). And you have no control over scheduling the date and time of delivery. It wound up not being a problem for me, but this might be an issue for you. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11671

We also have a rave review by "Satisfied Customer" of a completed move from FL to the UK in 2006-2007:
Satisfied Customer wrote: 2/14/07 - After reading some of the horror stories we were very apprehensive about our upcoming US [Florida] to UK move. We decided to go with one of the recommended international movers, Southern Winds International, and we couldn't be happier. Our move was generally hassle-free, on-time, and within budget.

I would recommend them to anyone and want to also thank this website for the invaluable service you provide. . . .

2/15/07 - After the initial contact via e-mail we got a call back in about a week. They gave us a quote based on my calculations (about 300 cubic feet). My estimate was not far off and the ending price was not far off the quote either (which was nice!)

Once we were contacted by phone the pick up was scheduled for a few days later, at our request. We didn't have much time so they did their best to accomodate us. Our stuff arrived at the UK port right on time (based on the estimated delivery date.) I don't remember the exact dates but I think it was about 2 months. We couldn't take delivery for a few more weeks so Simpsons Storage and Removals in the UK stored it for us at their warehouse. Once I arranged the delivery with Simpsons they scheduled it for a couple of days later. Everything was delivered right on time and without hassle.

It was really that easy which was very surprising. Everyone was courteous and our stuff arrived intact. We couldn't ask for much more. Our contact at Southern Winds was a helpful guy named Donovan.

We are really appreciative as moving to a new country is an incredibly stressful experience. Not having to deal with the hassles of ordinary moving companies was a real godsend. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12584

I am re-posting an excellent report on a completed move from NYC to the UK that was sent by email from "Angelique" to Tim Walker, founder of this website. The origin agent was University Van Lines in Rahway, NJ and the delivery agent was Simpsons Removals of Kent, England:
Angelique wrote: 4/3/07 - I just wanted to let you know that I used Southern Winds International to move from NYC to Manchester, UK based on your site, and they were fantastic!

Not only was the crew really nice, but so were the 'office' people in California, responding to email within the hour.

My belongings were picked up, and delivered without a hitch and everything arrived in the condition they left the US.

All in all, I really recommend them for all of your moving need. They also have the most competitive prices of the market (I've looked!). -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 5179#85179

We have an excellent review by "Desmond" of a completed move from Phoenix to Melbourne, Australia with Southern Winds:
Desmond wrote:2/12/07 - swintl had their local movers (Beltmann group [in Phoenix]) come in on 01/26/06 to take my stuff. My wife and I had packed all of the boxes ourselves with the exception of our fragile stuff. We were a little nervous of the day the movers were coming because as it was, we were told that all our stuff might not fit in the 200 cuft container and if the movers had to open and repack the boxes they would definitely use much more boxes cause it takes a lot of time (which the movers probably would not have) to pack as compactly as possible. When the movers did come they actually seemed quite happy that most of the boxes were already packed but did call their boss to confirm that it was ok to leave it that way. Their boss approved so they just packed our fragile stuff, dismantled the little furniture that we were taking and moved all the stuff into the lift van and then sealed it right in front of us. That made us feel pretty good watching them seal the container knowing that none of the stuff could possibly get misplaced till it is reopened at the port in Melbourne.(I'm guessing!)

Overall the movers were just excellent with their job. They were two of them that came over and went on very professionally (along with being friendly at the same time) sealing all the boxes and moving them to the lift van. What impressed me most was their ability to pack it in a way so as to have as less empty space as possible. There was no way I could have imagined packing that crate as well as they did. Overall we were extremely happy with them.

Some pointers for those planning on having their stuff moved: (Note: This list is based solely on my own experience with MY movers though I think most should apply to some extent to all of them) please feel free to add to or discount anything.

a) First when the movers come to do an in-house estimate, ask them to tell you exactly how much stuff will fit in the 200 cuft container. When I first measured all my boxes and furniture the total came to about 170cuft but I was told by the mover that it is about 250cuft. That initially confused me, but later on I realized that he meant to say that there would be about 50 cuft that would just not fit in the container cause of odd shaped sizes. Practically speaking even if you have just boxes totally 200cuft they would all not fit just cause of the nature of the size/shape/dimensions of the boxes. I didn't really 'get' that until move day

b) We packed all the boxes ourselves even though we were told that the movers need to pack them for insurance and post 911 security reasons but left them open. They were sealed by the movers so if they wanted to, they could check the contents of a few of the boxes. Verify that you can do this first with your mover else it will be a waste of time for you.

c) We made a detailed list (right down to the tee) of everything in all our boxes, printed it out and had it ready for the movers. This helped them in their case to not have to repack each box. It also had the added benefit for us to know what was in each box when we landed in Melbourne and also was used for insurance purposes.

d) Ask your mover to get the lift van to your home so the movers can fill it up right there itself else you will not know what items will not fit in the van and will have to decide between paying more, which ends up very expensive, for the extra items or having to go to their local warehouse to take back some stuff. In my mind neither of those are good alternatives and I would end up pretty frustrated.

e) Before the movers come, prioritize certain items that can be left out in order. Our movers kept those items for the last when it came to loading the lift van. Eventually a few of them were left out but we would rather have those out than something else that was essential to take.

f) Re-think any piece of furniture that you are taking. To get the best price-space benefit from the container, the less odd shaped items you have the better. In most cases taking furniture is usually not worth it and you're better off selling them. We put all the remaining furniture on craigslist and sold them off.

g) Finally, having gone through that, if we ever had to move again we would even pack the fragile stuff ourselves. The movers used plain packing paper to wrap up the items and I think we could have as well used our clothes/ towels to do the same. That way we would have reduced the volume of boxes slightly more as the packing paper itself takes up quite a lot of space.

So far all has gone well. I called swintl (as was instructed to do) on the day of the move itself and was given my final price (minus additional destination costs). I could then cut a check and post it to them.

Will give u my next update when I hear that the container has shipped.....

2/27/07 - Update...Got an email from swintl that my container shipped on 02/13 and the ETA in Melboune is 03/27...pretty good ! Just fyi we will still be in the US in March. So swintl's agent in Melboune will be cleariing the goods and will deliver to the residence. . . .

4/19/07 - Update.....My container reached Melbourne port about 3 weeks back (around start of April). Just got cleared from customs about 5 days back. I called the agent in Melbourne to pay the required port fees. Was told that the goods will be delivered to the destination based on availabiity of their trucks....Will let u guys know when that happens...hopefully its any day now. . . .

5/9/07 - Update: The goods reached home in Melbourne end of April. All boxes seem to be present and intact. Things have gone pretty well with the move. No suprises of any sort. There was a few weeks delay from the time the goods cleared customs in Melbourne till they were delivered to the house but thats a minor issue. I myself will be heading to Melbourne only later this week so I had factored in ample amount of time for the move. From the day the movers picked up the goods from our Phoenix apartment till they got delivered in Melbourne spanned slightly over 3 months which I think is pretty good.

Now the only thing left is a detailed examination to look for any breakerage however the boxes containing all the fragile items were already checked and all seems good.

So overall I will say SWINTL did an excellent job and I would recommend them to anyone doing an international move. Well done SWINTL !!! -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11048

We have a very good review by "elaines" of a completed move from North Carolina to Switzerland--she liked the good communication by Southern Winds and the only glitch was a minor amount of damage due to the packing:
elaines wrote:3/29/07 - We're moving from North Carolina to Switzerland this summer, approx. 1000 cubic feet. . . .

5/10/07 - I wanted to update everyone. I had 5 site visits and we have to submit two quotes to my husband's employer. The quotes are all pretty much the same - we;re sort of on the cusp between a 20' and 40' container, plus full replacement value on insurance - it's about $13-15K, that's DTD. We have LOTS of books. Maybe 100 1.5 cft cartons. Not a lot of furniture, except for bookcases. To hold the books, of course.

We're in North Carolina - RDU area. This is who I spoke to....

The second name is the local firm.

Meyer's Van Lines/United
Stevens/All American (I think)
Rainier/Johns's Moving
Southern Winds/Beltmann (North American Van Lines)

Swiss firms....

Packimpex/another United (I think) (UTS, unigroup)
Kehrli-Oeler/Allied-Security

My impressions....I thought that each of the agents were very helpful, although I have to say that Donovan at Southern Winds gave us the most information, unprompted. For example, I knew the likely path my stuff would travel, he gave us advice on picking a moving date, and mentioned up front that there would not be a deposit. The local office contact, Barbara was efficient and the surveyor, Judy was very professional and suggested that we crate a few fragile items. In the end, the crating won't add much to the cost, either.

Bill from Allied-Security was also very helpful, and gave us some good information about how to arrange the stuff to be packed. The other people who did the surveys knew what they were about and were fine, I think any of them would be suitable.

I know that I'm influenced by customer service - answers to my questions, suggestions about things I might not have considered, etc - all other things being equal, that is.

We'll submit the quotes tomorrow - we are leaning toward Southern Winds. More later....

6/13/07 - In the end, we went with Southern Winds/Beltman. We did not make our choice on price alone, although Southern Winds was competitive. Since we're not paying for the move, we opted for Southern Winds because they were most responsive, provided the most information and seemed totally connected.

We've had a crew from Beltman here for two days, packing up all of our "stuff." I'm impressed with their efficiency and how tightly and carefully everything has been packed. We will never pack our stuff ourselves again if we can help it. They'll load the container tomorrow. My understanding is that our stuff will go to Norfolk, and ship out on June 25, arriving in Bremerhaven July 5, and then make it's way to Berne, we hope within 3 weeks. . . .

7/28/07 - Well, here's more to the story.

Our stuff arrived in Germany July 8, and was delivered July 17. Little glitch with paperwork - there was some confusion about residency permits - although it was settled in a few days. (Try that in the USA).

In terms of logistics and so on, SWIntl did a great job. I got a weekly email about where the shipment was, and it got there quickly, really. Donovan Woodruff, and Ed Petersen were very helpful, and Jakob at Professional Relocations was helpful - and everyone responded to their email quickly.

On the Swiss end, Professional Relocations did a great job - my husband said that they unloaded everything and came back the next day to assemble. They were fast and efficient. There was no need for an external elevator, either. One piece had to be carried upstairs, but that was it.

I have to adjust my opinion of Beltman - for the most part, things were packed well, but....Two bookcases were packed without removing the shelves, and both bookcases are ruined. Also, my husband thought that the boxes were not labeled as clearly as they could have been - neither he nor the German crew were able to identify all the boxes designated for the cellar. So I'd say Beltman did an ok job. I won't be in Switzerland for another 3 weeks, so I don't know if anything else met with disaster.

When I get there, I'll be unpacking a crapload of stuff. We shipped more than 200 pieces including 83 boxes of books. (30 boxes were placed on a separate van to go to my husband's office - the price of this was less than $200). And generally I have to say that Beltman did pack the container well - something like one box was a little crushed. Although the German crew did think the boxes seemed a little cheap.

And I will be filing an insurance claim (that's why I spent days itemizing all our stuff, and that's why I got insurance). The bookcases aren't terribly valuable - we crated the really important pieces - but they are needed and they will have to be replaced.

So, for us, the part that wasn't as great as the rest was the local part of the move - the packing and labeling.

12/22/07 - Final update:
We've settled with the insurance for our two bookcases. We asked for replacement value, they came back with a value for cheap bookcases from Best Buy that would hardly be worth shipping. It was rather offensive and off-putting. But at any rate, we negotiated again and got a little more. I spent a lot of time putting my insurance list together, I can't say I'm totally impressed with the insurer - executive insurance services in Florida. Although in part, I suppose we should have been even more detailed with the insurance list. So my advice is to include excruciating detail.

And, there was a small issue with moving the goods from germany into Switzerland - Professional Relocations passed them to a Swiss company to drive them across the border and deliver the goods. These guys did not close the customs form. We went back and forth with the swiss authorities, the swiss movers and professional relocations in germany. In the end, it has been settled and we did not have to pay. Professional relocations and the Swiss authorities were very helpful. The movers themselves were very professional in terms of unpacking and set up. However, the firm itself was difficult to get hold of. And it's very difficult when our German is poor and their English is not much better.

But all in all, it wasn't a bad experience. I would recommend Southern Winds, and Professional Relocations highly. I knew where my stuff was pretty much all of the time, the damage was really minimal our stuff was delivered in 4 weeks.

I'm less enthusiastic about Beltman in the Raleigh area, I think I needed even more detail from the insurance and I think this just underscores the need to be really, really organized, and to put post-it notes on everything that comes apart. I thought I walked through with the packers and identified pieces that did have shelves that came out and etc, but I don't remember at this point - it was six months ago. Anyway, good luck to all of you who have moves planned, and happy holidays.

Best
Elaine - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13301

We have a similar report from "fletcherv" on a shipment from Oregon to Portugal, saying that Southern Winds was "excellent" but the packing by Crown Moving in Vancouver, WA, was inadequate, resulting in some damage. The customer notes that Southern Winds no longer uses Crown as a result of this incident:
fletcherv wrote: 8/12/07 - After this forum was so helpful to me in planning my international move, I promised myself that I'd write up my full experience once it was complete.

I used Southern Winds as my moving liaison. I call them a liaison because, as I learned, international moving companies do not move you. They organize your move and take care of all the complex details of international transit, customs, etc. They provide invaluable services, but actually packing up your belongings is not one of them. They contract moving companies for this job, at both your point of departure and your destination. This means that the full process of moving will only be as good as the companies contracted.

Southern Winds did an excellent job and treated me very well. Unfortunately, the company they contracted to pack up my belongings did not, and I had to file an insurance claim. Here's the whole story.

I got three in-house estimates. The estimators sent by the three companies varied wildly in professionalism, and their estimates were just different enough to make comparison difficult. (Many, many thanks to hardatwork for helping me compare apples to oranges!) I chose Southern Winds for several reasons: 1) their representative, Michael Gilbert, was very professional and prompt in answering my many email questions; 2) the estimator they sent was the most professional; and 3) this estimator made some very good-sounding guarantees regarding the protection of my furniture. He said they would use hard cardboard corner pieces and edge pieces for my expensive cherry wood furniture, and that it would be securely wrapped and protected. He made a point of mentioning that cars could run over these cardboard corners and not crush them -- serious protection!

This estimate was not the cheapest, but I felt the most comfortable with my dealings with Southern Winds and its contracted moving company, Crown Moving (a United Van Lines mover).

For the next month I was busy selling/donating half my belongings and doing a lot of prepacking. Because I lived in a remote area of the Oregon coast, and was moving to the extreme south of Portugal, the cost of my move was stratospheric. If I'd moved from Los Angeles to London, I'm sure it would have been a heck of a lot cheaper. As it was, my costs worked out to about $3,000 per lift van. I pulled out all the stops to get my belongings to fit into two lift vans rather than three, and to this day regret that I was forced into that kind of situation. I gave up a lot of things that truly hurt to lose.

(Note to those moving to Europe: if your friends tell you, "Don't worry, you can just buy a new one there -- it will be cheaper than moving it," take that with a very large grain of salt. Depending on where you live, consumer costs can be extremely expensive here. Between the import duties, the VAT tax -- which in Portugal is 21% -- and the total unavailability of many, many things that we're accustomed to being able to buy in the US, it is not a safe bet that you can cheaply replace something in Europe. In fact, it is often not a safe bet that you can find a replacement at ANY cost.)

Moving day arrived, bringing with it the first signs that the Crown Moving representative had grossly misrepresented the professionalism of its movers and the quality of its moving products.

Sign number one: The lift vans. In the United Van Lines brochure the rep had left me, the lift vans were shown as solid, thick, reinforced wooden crates. The ones that appeared in front of my house were so thin that I could literally have kicked a hole in them. They were falling apart, had been repeatedly patched with additional thin pieces of wood nailed over the holes, and the insides were studded with sharp nails that had been pounded in from the outside and not bent or clipped. They literally looked as if they'd been assembled from scrap lumber at a construction site. At one point, as a mover was shoving in a last box, the entire top of the lift van separated from the body. "Don't worry," he assured me, "they seal them back at the warehouse."

Sign number two: A total absence of any of those hard cardboard corner and edge pieces for protecting furniture. When I asked about them, I was told, "Oh yeah, they mentioned those at our last meeting. No, we don't have them yet." As it turned out, the majority of the damage to my furniture occurred on the corners and edges.

Sign number three: The movers had no understanding that my lift vans would not be shipped all the way through to my destination. Instead, they were going to be unpacked in England, with the goods repacked into a truck for overland transit to Portugal. (If I'd been moving somewhere like Germany, the lift vans would have gone door to door. For Spain or Portugal, forget it.) This meant that every single item in the lift vans had to be boxed or wrapped with the thought in mind that they were going to be individually transferred. On two different occasions I had to stop one of the movers from simply throwing something into the liftvan unwrapped.

This ignorance on the part of the movers was the cause of most of my damage. Whether Southern Winds failed to inform Crown Moving that my lift vans would be unpacked in England, I do not know.

Sign number four: Crown Moving sent two movers for a three-person job.

Sign number five: The movers did not come equipped with enough thick wrapping paper, and the paper they DID bring was not high quality. When the movers in Portugal brought my furniture in, they all commented that they'd never seen such thin paper or such a poor wrapping job.

Crown Moving sent a team of two movers, a woman and a man. The woman was experienced in packing boxes, and did a really bang-up job. Nothing she packed in boxes was even slightly damaged -- she was very, very good. The man was clearly there for muscle alone. Unfortunately, he also packed some boxes, and did an extremely poor job of it. Who in the heck packs a stereo amplifier in a box by putting it face down in the bottom, with no crumpled paper or any kind of padding? All of the knobs, switches and buttons were crushed into the bottom of the box from the weight of everything he piled on top of the amp. Amazing.

My furniture was wrapped in single layers of wrapping paper, and when I expressed dismay at the level of protection -- where were the multiple layers and the thick plastic wrap shown in the brochure? -- they assured me that it would be fine, and that the movers at the other end would use blankets when they repacked the shipment. This was either more ignorance or an outright lie.

Finally my shipment was packed up and on its way, for better or worse. I flew to Portugal and waited. Michael Gilbert estimated that my shipment would take eight weeks; it took nine. Pretty close.

The shipment arrived in England right on schedule. I received notification from Southern Winds' contracted British moving company (Simpson's Removals) that it had cleared customs. I then sent an email to Simpson's expressing my doubts about how securely my furniture had been wrapped, and asked that it be properly protected when transferred to the truck. I was assured that it would be. Another lie.

The truck made its way to Spain, and I received a phone call from the Portuguese company that Simpson's contracted for final delivery, setting up a delivery time. Then I received another call the day before delivery, telling me that there was a delay and setting the date for one day later. My shipment finally arrived several hours after the newly scheduled time. The truck had apparently broken down in Spain, and the Portuguese company had sent a second truck. All of my goods were transferred to this new truck. Then they discovered, upon entering the city where I now live, that the new truck was too large and heavy to go beyond the city limits. So they brought a THIRD, smaller truck, and transferred everything again.

In total, my shipment -- which the Crown Moving people thought would stay in the lift vans from door to door -- was transferred no less than three times. The poor wrapping job done at my US home was not up to the test. When my furniture was finally carried in, the paper was literally falling off the furniture. My cherry furniture was gouged, dented and scratched. I moved a bed, two nightstands, a desk, an armoire and a filing cabinet, all matching. Of that set, the only piece that escaped damage was one of the nightstands. My desk in particular was so badly damaged that the repair estimate called for replacing the entire top of it.

Words cannot express how awful it feels to watch your shipment arrive after SO much time and stress and waiting, and then find out that your furniture is trashed and the move still isn't over. Now comes the insurance claim.

Of course, filing a claim in Portugal isn't quite the same thing that it would be in the US. For one thing, I had to get a woodworker to come to my house to give me an estimate -- taking my things to his shop was obviously not an option. But I don't live in Lisbon, where I could have gotten three estimates with ease. I live in the Algarve, and there was precisely one man available and willing. His estimate was ridiculously low -- I seriously doubted the quality of his work based on that -- but I was unable to get another. After spending too much time trying, and using up almost all of my three-month time allotment (wait longer than that and you lose your claim), I was finally forced to file a claim based on that single estimate. The insurance company responded promptly and professionally, and did not give me a hard time. (Probably because the claim was so incredibly cheap!)

My check arrived at the end of June. I moved at the end of December. Six months to get closure on this whole disaster.

Throughout this whole thing, Michael Gilbert continued to be supportive and professional. He informed me that Southern Winds is no longer using Crown Moving based on my experience. . . .

~ Fletcher - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14576

There is a very good review of Southern Winds by "sbarber" for arranging a completed move from CA to Geneva using Broadway Moving in Vallejo to prepare the shipment:
sbarber wrote: 9/2/07 - I would like to commend the work of 4 companies that handled my international move from CA, USA to Geneva, and back.

I first chose Southern Winds, primarily because they were listed on this website and responded quickly with the most reasonable quote for my move. They were professional, fast, and reliable, and responsive to my many questions. I had a small shipment and they gave me a quote after I described it over the telephone. The weight exceeded the quote but I think the shipping price was fair. They contracted with Broadway Moving and Shipping to prepare the shipment locally, and I found that the 2 men who made the move were professional, pleasant, and did the job well. When the movers were delayed by several days, I had to pay additional fees for storage; however, these fees were removed from my total payment to Southern Winds.

Southern Winds contracted Simpson's Removal and Storage, UK, to receive the shipment from CA in the UK, and were responsible for forwarding it to Geneva. Simpson's held the shipment for me in storage in the UK for a very reasonable UK 10 pounds per month.

For the return shipment to the US, Simpsons prepared a very reasonable estimate, and handled the shipment of the goods back to the US. The only small complaint is that they were rather slow to respond and one of their staff (Tracy) was unresponsive to my questions, particularly after I had already paid for the shipment. The rest of the people I dealt with at Simpsons, however, were very professional and responsive, particularly Peter Turner.

Simpsons contracted another mover to handle the shipment upon arrival in the US: International Sea & Air Shipping based in NJ. I checked this website and found no reviews for this company; however, they do have a positive review on the BBB. I was initially surprised to be asked to sign a separate agreement/ contract with International Sea and Air. I could not understand why a subcontractor would want a separate contract for the shipment. However, in the end Int'l Sea & Air handled the shipment professionally and without any problems.

The only small issue is that the shipment eventually arrived much later than the initial quotation by Simpsons, related to delays leaving the U.K, and further delays from port to destination in the US, which could not fully be explained by delays in customs. Although the late arrival (in weeks) did not pose problems for me, it would have been more convenient to have an accurate estimate of the timing.

I am however satisfied with the work of all four companies that were involved in the move, and would not hesitate to contact them again for my next international move in the fall. They did a great job. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14726

There is an excellent report by "mkperformance" for a completed move from San Diego to Australia in 12/06:
mkperformance wrote:10/25/07 - In December of last year we moved from San Diego to Perth Australia using Southern Winds. The cost was roughly $6500 for a 20ft container. It took about four weeks for the shipment to arrive and clear customs. We were very pleased with promptness, professionalism and price of the Southern Winds company. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 9229#99229

Here's a very good report on a move from Sacramento to Germany in the fall of 2007:
poorcollegeman wrote: 11/17/07 - So here is the latest and greatest. We are now living in Munich. We arrived Oct 31st.

Let me rewind a little.....on Oct 22 Broadway Movers from Vallejo came to the house and packed everything that we had not already put into boxes. The two guys Jimy and Adolfo we really nice and it only took them 3 hours. Jimy packed everything in the Garage while Adolfo packed the kitchen stuff. Jimy packed almost the whole house while Adolfo packed the kitchen...tell you how much time and care he spent on our important dishes and etc. After the guys packed and inventoried all of the boxes they started putting them into a 200 cubic ft crate. It turned out that we had a lot more room that we had boxes so we decided to take a few more things to try and fill the crate. So we had them wrap a few large things that we wanted if there was room because we would not be able to get them on the plane. They wrapped our bike, kids wiggles big red car (plastic kids car), and a few more large things. They were nice and inventoried everything...I would definitely recommend Broadway Movers. The only gripe I have about the two guys was that we told them certain things in the kitchen should not be packed and they started to pack them anyways, but I caught it before the boxes were sealed, so not that big of a deal. We ended up only using 182 cubic feet with 37 "boxes".

We did decide to go with Southern Winds (Michael Gilbert), who have been great so far (cross my fingers). The final price unless there are any kind of delays is $3,240...which by the estimates from the other companies seems about right.

My most recent status update email from Michael shows an ETA in the UK on November 29th. After it gets there it will pass through customs (I pray quickly and smoothly) and then it will be transported to Munich via truck by way of the under ocean transportation tunnel that connects the UK to Europe. . . .

5/14/08 - So we recieved our shipment on January 3, 2008. Sorry for taking so long to post the results.

The only problem that I had with the shipment was when the carrier in the UK scheduled the delivery date with me. We decided on a time of delivery between 10am and 2pm. Well when it was 10 am I called and they said they were running late and would be there by 5pm! So then it is 5pm and they are still not here. So I call and get the driver's cell phone number. I call and no answer. A few minutes later I call again and the driver says that they will be here at 7pm. Well they finally did show up at 7pm but wasted my whole day waiting for them.

All 31 boxes came in tact without any visible damage. We have not unpacked everything but so far nothing is broken. We even shipped several paintings and the glass did not break! We have not gone through all of the kitchen boxes but I am confident that none of the glasses are broken.

I am disappointed in Michael Gilbert Southern Winds because after the shipment was delivered there was no follow up contact to see how things went and if I had any problems. Other than that everything went smooth and Michael Gilbert Southern Winds was always able to answer my questions via email. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14882

There is a rave review of a completed move (with dogs) from Los Angeles to Australia completed in late 2007:
rytngrl wrote: 1/15/08 - I'm writing first to thank this site for existing.:-) Because of it, I have managed to avoid getting ripped off on a few occasions. And because of that, I decided to trust the advice on the site when planning a very big move from LA to Sydney. So the second reason I'm writing is to tell you how it went and what to expect if you're trying to pull off the same feat.

#1: Use Southern Winds. I cannot say enough about how professional and honest and reliable they were. Michael Gilbert is a rock star.

Because all my stuff was already in storage with PODS, he agreed to give me a quote over the internet with photos I provided of my furniture, as long as I agreed that the price is based on size and weight and the stuff I didn't have photos of (kitchen and book boxes, etc.) could nudge it up. Well, the day after his wonderful packing company, California Relocations (more on them below) collected my stuff, he called to say the cost would be a bit LESS than he had estimated. Which, for a 20 foot container 8ftx8ft just for me, was about $7,000.00 . FYI a cheap sofa over here costs about 2 thousand dollars so I am SO GLAD I brought mine. They may not be shiny new but it means I don't have to lay out $$$ for new ones until I feel like it :-)

Anyway, the personal service I got was friendly, prompt, reliable - I cannot say enough. It is one class act.

As for their packing company, California Relocations, again fantastic. Four guys came, unloaded my POD from the front yard, wrapped everything from lamps to art to tables in multiple layers securely taped and were gone in a couple of hours. The guys were clean, nice, obviously experienced, and careful.

The final proof was when my things finally arrived at my house in Sydney and the wrappings were all dry, in great shape (meaning my stuff was also dry and in great shape). None of the humidity damage I had been warned to expect by a few people who had "known people who had made ocean-crossing moves and knew". Of the entire shipment I had 2 things break. Two crystal tea glasses that were in the outside compartments of wine boxes I had packed myself. That's 2 pieces out of 140 pieces of crystal. Not bad. My insurance is paying btw.

And speaking of insurance - I had renters insurance and an art and antiques policy with State Farm that covered my things while in storage at PODS warehouse - and ALL THE WAY TO MY FRONT DOOR IN SYDNEY! Which was very cool because I didn't have to pay for additional insurance for the shipping. I had pre-checked to make sure there were no exceptions on the policy like oh sorry we can't pay for that because the policy doesn't cover pirates at sea or water damage from sinking. I made them talk to their underwriter and made sure ALL scenarios were covered. So if you have home contents insurance, look into it before you go for the additional insurance.

As for timing, from pick up to arrival in Sydney took 6 weeks and then it took Australian customs 4 weeks to clear my shipment so it could be released for delivery. The reason: they allocate 2 hours a week, on Tuesdays only, to go through personal shipments and at that time of year (December) they were overloaded. The delivery company here, Hellas Europe Australia, was also great. When my stairwell was too narrow to get my couches up to the second floor (they call it a 1st floor here) they figured out a way to get them up over the upstairs terrace railing and in through the sliding glass doors - even though they aren't supposed to have to do that - because they didn't want to just leave and leave my stuff stranded. ROCK STARS!

One note: The shipment arrived in Sydney on Nov 10 but I got a call from someone on Nov 8 saying it had just been cleared out of I think Taipei or something and would probably be due in Sydney around Dec 5. Two days later I got a call from Hellas saying the ship was a day away and would take about a week to clear the dock and go to customs. Which was what happened. On Nov 17 the shipment was sent to customs. So for what it's worth, I certainly had lots of people keeping me informed, which was great, but the info varied a bit, which wasn't a problem since it wasn't a huge variation. Just be aware of the potential for this.

Next item: Bill from customs. It was $700 bucks. This was a bit of a surprise because all my stuff passed inspection and they didn't have to destroy anything (like garden furniture with pests in the wood. etc) which they charge you A LOT for doing. But I was warned all the way along that there would be port charges and customs charges that would be extra and could not be guessed in advance. I guess 700 bucks plus 7000 bucks total is still a major bargain it just surprised me that it cost this much for customs to randomly (and neatly, don't worry) open a few boxes to make sure "kitchen stuff" really was in fact kitchen stuff.

Which brings me to the dog part. Probably cost me the same to bring my two dogs to Australia as it did for a 2 bedroom house full of furniture. Hold on to your hats if you have dogs or cats. It ain't cheap and that's if you do all the prep yourself. I won't go into major detail here, except to say it was about 8 grand for two dogs including: all the shots and blood testing and microchipping and health checking and import permit fees and airfare (they traveled in pet cargo on Air Canada - a flight that regularly has a fair number of pets so they have it down to a well-oiled machine and take good care of them) and transport to the quarantine station outside Sydney and 30 days stay and exercise appointments and gas to drive all the way out 3 times a week to visit them. I am SO glad that is all over. It was the most stressful part for me and my dogs, who are normally absolute love bugs but were too pissed at me to even look at me during my frequent visits. The quarantine station is as clean as possible and the staff is as nice as possible but the fact is they are living in a cement and chain link cell surrounded by barking dogs they don't know -- and they don't know why. They only know they don't deserve it. The good news is they forgave me the second they saw me arrive to get them on the last day (they were waiting in the going home area which must have been full of joy phermones or something because it was like they'd forgiven me before I even showed up. In the car the whole way home they stared lovingly at me. On the other hand they could have been wondering why I was sitting there on that side without a steering wheel in front of me but I prefer to think it was a loving gaze.) Their time in the clink did leave them a little tweaked but a couple of months later they are back to normal and not barking out of control at every dog they meet on the street which was a habit they picked up in quarantine (they are 8 and 9 years old Aussie Shepherds).

Important note: If you are planning to bring dogs to australia, get their rabies titre test done 5 months AT LEAST before you have to fly them there. Don't make the same mistake I did and neglect this. I had to push my move date back 4 months because I didn't realize that even though the quarantine for north american dogs is now only 30 days, the PROCESS still takes 6 months and it's just the LAST 30 DAYS of it that can be done in Australia in the quarantine station. I would not recommend having your dog in the station longer - no matter how complicated it is for you to change your plans. They are happy to have your dog do the whole 6 months at the station if say you had to move on short notice and had no one to look after your dog back in north america but as nice and animal-loving as they are at the station, it's not a happy place for the dogs and 30 minutes a day out of their kennel stall only 5 days a week is tough on their minds and their muscles.

Well, that's probably it. It's been a long process but it's all turned out very very well. Thanks again to Southern Winds, California Relocations, Hellas Europe Australia, Australian Quarantine, Air Canada, this site and the various other sites I got valuable dog-importation advice from. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15442

We have a rave review of a completed move from Seattle to Australia, apparently in early 2008:
DropBear wrote: 6/4/08 - Well it’s been a long road, but I can finally sign off on what, all things considered, was a very successful move from Seattle, WA to Geelong, Australia.

Planning for the move began in January of 2007 and this site was invaluable in helping me select Southern Winds to help manage the international move. We also checked Rainier and Allied. All companies were very professional, informative and reasonably close on cost, but in the end the decision came down to the following:

    1. Some friends of ours had a bad experience with Allied at the Australian end and they were slightly more expensive
    2. Rainer was slightly more expensive and just a touch slower to respond than Southern Winds

During the planning all companies were very good at educating us. Some key information I’ve since learned is not always emphasized by other companies was:

Itemize your goods.

Make sure you’re comprehensive and include replacement costs. We did this prior to receiving any quotes. It’s tedious but actually helps the rest of the process go more smoothly.

Insure your goods.

International shipping insurance is EXPENSIVE. But if you think nothing will go wrong in an international move you’re deceiving yourself. Insurance cost us ~18.00 per $1000 of value with a $500 deductable and we ended up making a claim. More on that later.

Prepare for customs

This will depend on where you go but take the time to prepare your goods for inspection at the other end. Given that we were moving to Australia I went over all our outdoor equipment with a fine toothed comb to make sure there was no dirt, etc. We also shipped some of our exotic teas and spices separately. In the event customs does decide to inspect more thoroughly, it can be quite costly. Aussie customs is $150 per half hour. Our customs bill was ~$700

Packing in Seattle was handled by Continental Van Lines who were VERY GOOD. We had a 40ft container all to ourselves and it took 3 days to pack and load the container. For international moves packing must be conducted by the moving company and it was all included in the quote. There are also good reasons to let them pack absolutely everything (more on that later).

As we were not in Australia when our goods arrived we also needed to arrange for storage and storage insurance. Our shipping insurance did include 60 days of storage, so we only needed to pay for an extra 30 days in the end.

Once we got back to Australia, our goods were delivered to our own storage facility and (in short order) will be redelivered to our house we’ve just purchased. Delivery on the Australian side was handled by Transglobal Shipping and Storage in Victoria. Apart from a couple of dropped boxes (nothing broke) they were also very good. We also had them quote for the second delivery during the planning stage and they have honoured that original quote.

Some goods were damaged during the move and some items were missing, but I expected this and so was quite comfortable given that we had insurance. Unfortunately the insurance company (Executive Insurance Services) acted as most people expect insurance companies to act. I.e. try to pay you as little as possible.

As I mentioned, as part of the insurance process I itemized (almost) everything and included replacement costs. Our premiums were based on the stated replacement costs, but when it came time to pay up, the insurance company decided to calculate the fair claim amount slight differently than I would have hoped. Here are the lessons learned:

Be VERY comprehensive in your itemization.

When it comes to clothes, shoes, toys, etc it’s best to list a number of items at a per item price. E.g. 10 x Pairs of Jeans $50 per pair = $500. I forgot to include lots of the kids little toys and our books. So when a couple of boxes didn’t show up, I was unable to claim for those items.

Make sure the packing list is comprehensive

This is tricky because the packing list is fairly crowded, but as much as possible, make sure items on the packing list accurately describe the contents of the package. Based on recommendations we had filled many empty suitcases, chests of drawers, etc with our clothes. When the packers listed the items, they simply put “Suitcase”. One such suitcase didn’t arrive. I claimed all the clothes ($1600 claim). However, the insurance company only paid us $150 because the packing list made no mention of clothes. This is another good reason to let the packing company do ALL the packing.

Replacement value is NOT

Just because you list something with a particular replacement value and pay the premiums for that value, do NOT expect the insurance company to pay you that amount. I had a number of microphones and listed the replacement value at what I new was a fair price based on the need to pay taxes, shipping or buy them in Australia where things are more expensive. I assumed since I paid premiums for that value and listed them ahead of time there would be very little issue getting the money. WRONG! The insurance company found a price at a retailer in the USA that was (35%) less than my replacement value and so only paid that amount. Unfortunately they didn’t include the shipping cost for me to get them from the US to Australia in their payment. My suggestion, therefore is that you demand (in writing) up front that replacement value be the lesser of the listed amount or an amount in new country of residence.

Despite the obvious annoyance with the insurance company, I have to say that I’m very pleased with how the move went. Moving a house full of stuff and a family of 4 all that way is not an easy task and it’s quite easy to see how things can go very wrong. I don’t think there are any significant secrets to share. It all came down to two main things. Lots of planning and working with a reputable moving company.

Donovan, and the rest of the team, at Southern Winds were with us the entire way, even through the insurance claim and the subsequent move in Australia. I highly recommend them to anyone who is undertaking an international move.
Well I believe I’ve used up my space and then some. I’m happy to answer questions, provide advice to anyone who feels I might have something more to offer. This site was extremely helpful to me, so I’m glad I can give a bit back.

Cheers
Stephen - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16407

There is an excellent review of a completed move from Los Angeles to Germany (and London and Morocco in between):
keenast wrote: 8/16/08 - After much research and reading tons of posts here on this forum we decided to contract with Southern Winds International for our move from L.A. to Europe (exact place wasn't decided until a year later!).

Now that all our things (lots of them) safely arrived at the final destination - Berlin/Germany - I finally have time to post about my great experience with Southern Winds. Really great. Not only did we not know for a long time where all our stuff is going to end up - during this year we needed a number of boxes with my recording equipment separated and shipped to Morocco for some film shoots and then back to join the other things. This was all very very complicated and Southern Winds (our man was Donovan Woodruff - highly recommended) was really really helpful.

Again, I can't say enough good about everything they did. They did not have the lowest bid, they were somewhere about below the middle - but they were worth the money, every penny.

Two things one should know: let the company they use to pick up and pack your stuff do their job. We were scared about our fragile and prescious things, musical instruments, high tech gear etc. and packed a lot of it ourselves. Just have to say they do it as good if not better!

The other thing one needs to know is that Southern Winds doesn't take credit card payments. Not a big deal, but it took us by surprise as we had monies already transferred overseas.

Donovan was great in keeping us updated and we really appreciated his patience and cool.

Karl Lohninger, currently Berlin/Germany - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17122

We have another excellent report on a completed move to Portugal:
wildmot01 wrote:12/8/08 - :D After a long search for the right moving company I decided to use Southern Winds International. My inquiry to this Company was promptly responded by Donovan. I was explicitly informed about prices and time of delivery. The price compared to other movers was competitive. Donovan was patiently helpful with all questions about custom and other forms. The US-mover picked up our 48 boxes on time. The English mover informed us about the arrival of the boxes and when they would be forwarded to Portugal. Whenever we had an additional question, we could turn to Donovan and were informed promptly. The boxes were delivered to our house in Portugal exactly on time. Each one of the 48 boxes looked just like we had seen them 3 months ago. Nothing was broken or damaged, nothing missing, just perfect. It was a pleasure to work with such competent and thourough companies and I would recommend Southern Winds International highly to everybody who has to move.
Brigitte R. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17607


Contact information for Southern Winds: phone or (ask for Michael Gilbert).

[Editor's note by Diane: See the next post for reviews of Sterling International.]

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 5:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby Diane » Sat May 14, 2005 6:16 pm

This post brings together reviews of Sterling International.

Sterling International at sterlinginternational.com

There is a positive report that I received in a PM from one of the moverpros posting here who has used this company for clients.

Also, "HELENKANEU" just posted that her move with Sterling went very well. This was a move from Ohio to Germany with storage in England on the way. (Her earlier posts are at http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2572 and http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3099 – and in the latter she reported one unanticipated "inspection fee" of more than $100.)
I have just received my things, which I had shipped from Cleveland, Ohio to Karlsruhe, Germany. Everything went great, and nothing is broken. I was charged exactly as was agreed (the price was one of the lowest quotes I had received), everyone courteous and professional, accomodating, and super patient while answering milions of my questions. You can read the whole story by using this link:

http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 2&start=30

I am really happy everything went smoothly, and have not a single bad thing to say!!! Halleluja!!!

Here is the contact info:

Philip Aeschleman
Sterling International, Inc.
6 Denny Road, Suite 207
Wilmington, DE 19809
Tel:
Fax:
Email:

They do moves all over the world and I think also within the USA.

If you need any more info, please email me at .
_________________
HELENA N. LORENZ
- http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3659

There is another positive post about Sterling for a move of household goods from CA to France and a car from Miami to Belgium -
4/13/05 - Hi,

I've visited this site as I researched moving companies. We had a bad (an understatement) experience a year ago – with Dolphin International. Wish I'd known then about this site! So, here's our experience for others to profit by.

We're moving household goods from California to the terminal in Paris, France, and shipping a Mini Cooper from Miami port to the port of Zeebrugge, Belgium.

After doing all the research suggested on this site and reading other people's posts, we decided to go with Sterling International (http://sterlinginternational.com/).
Sterling is a division of Arnold Moving in Kentucky. They use the same DOT number as A Arnold: 007953
Their address:
5200 Interchange Way
Louisville, KY 40229

Their agent, Phil Aescleman (tel: email: ), has been very good. He's answered the phone most times when we call. Also, if he doesn't know something or if we need further information, he comes back with it after doing research. He takes pains to explain what we can expect (with the car, this was a big help). We've been very pestery with our questions, have been in contact often, and he has been professional every time.

A word of caution: We started this process in November and were ready to use Gateways International. However, when we revisited our research in March, we learned that they'd let their insurance with the FMC lapse. We also looked at Stevens (http://stevensworldwide.com/); they were ok, but Phil at Sterling sounded like he knew what he was doing. So, nothing against Stevens.

Both Stevens and Sterling quoted similar prices. Sterling quoted:
HHG: $1395 for 23 boxes and an 8-foot windsurf board (in other words, everything together was estimated at 160 cft or 1000 lbs)
Car: $1,005 for Ro-Ro (roll on roll off vessel, not in a container)
They offered TOTAL LOSS insurance only for 1.25% of total value.
Estimated transit times: 5-7 weeks for HHG, 13-19 days for car.

HHG: We booked the shipment with Phil and paid the deposit, which was 25% of the total. The shippers had to custom-build a crate for the windsurf board, which added to the cost. We weren't there, and we'd already packed and sealed the boxes, so we had to provide an inventory to the shippers. The inventory was necessary so they didn't have to put “PBO” (packed by owner) on the boxes – a red flag for customs overseas. The pickup took just under an hour. That's where things stand. We'll have to pay the rest of the amount before the shipment sails.

CAR: We had a slightly different experience shipping the car. You need to have the original title, free of liens, to ship a car. In Miami, they also require a Letter of Intent/Permit to Export because they get people trying to ship cars illegally. Sterling booked us with Wallenius Wilhelmsen, the ocean carrier. Phil passed us to a colleague, Susan Frockt, who gave us the dates of departure and entry, booking number, and name of the Ro-Ro vessel. Her email was not clear about what we needed to do; she gave us Wallenius's contact number, saying we had to get the Letter of Intent from them. But that number was disconnected. And she gave us the number of POMTOC – the Port of Miami – but no one answered. So at that point, it was Thursday and we had to get the car with all documentation to the port on Tuesday. We did not give Sterling any money or deposit until we were sure of what was going on.

Basically, we had to do a lot of work to get the Letter of Intent. Susan was unavailable. We called Wallenius from their number on the Web, and were passed around to 5 people, but nobody knew what to do. Finally, we called Phil. He said Susan was swamped & he would contact a friend at the port who might help.

On Monday, still with no Letter of Intent, we called Phil again. He said he'd put Theresa Banta on it. She called later in the day, saying she'd sent an email with all the info we needed and the Letter. True to her word, she'd given us a step by step list of what we needed to do. So, the night before drop-off, we typed and printed the Letter of Intent (U.S. customs won't accept handwritten stuff).

The day of drop-off, we drove to the port and arrived just before 8am at the customs office. A note on the door said they'd changed offices. We called Danny at POMTOC, who told us that we needed to see him first before customs. So we drove to his office – not easy, since you have to get a pass to enter the restricted port – and presented the 3 things needed:

Original title, plus two copies of front and back
Letter of Intent, plus two copies
Dock receipt, plus two copies

He stamped the Letter of Intent with the POMTOC stamp and address (very important!!!), and inspected the car, gave us another dock receipt with proof that there were no scratches, etc. Then we left the car there.

Next stop, Barwil – an agent of Wallenius. Barwil was the one who finally provided the Letter of Intent, so they had to sign it before we could go to customs.

Arrived at the Miami Freezone/U.S. Customs office around 11. Stood in line along with 15 or so other people. IMPORTANT: If you're shipping less than 5 cars, arrive at 1pm. Before that, it's open to agents who come in with 50, 60, or more car titles to ship. These are the people who arrange cars in containers, the professionals. The line did not move until 1pm since there were only two agents processing – in one case - 101 titles per person.

We finally saw a customs officer at 1:30. He was looking for the following on our title and Letter:

Booking number
Name of the vessel
Original title presented by the car's owner (if you're doing this for someone else, you need to get a power of attorney – I don't anything about this)
POMTOC stamp

You pay a $7.50 processing fee. We're shipping the car back in six months, so we got a registration document from the officer and were told we need to get the original Bill of Lading from Sterling (Theresa receives this after the ship sails).

That's it. I'll update this post when we get our stuff.

6/26/05 - Here's the result of our shipment of household goods from California to Le Havre, France with Sterling International (http://sterlinginternational.com/).

Their agent, Phil Aescleman (tel: email: ), has been very good.

Sterling quoted:
$1395 for approx 160 cft or 1000 lbs)
They offered TOTAL LOSS insurance only for 1.25% of total value.
Estimated transit time: 5-7 weeks

The deposit at time of booking was 25% of the total.
The pickup took just under an hour.

Date of pickup: second week of April
Date goods arrived in Le Havre: May 20
Date goods arrived at our home: June 20

BEWARE OF:
Sterling contracted Cargo Lines in France. They were supposed to take care of our customs and transport from Le Havre to Paris. Their service was not exceptional. They didn’t give us the required information up-front about customs documentation. They also gave the truckers the wrong delivery address, adding three days to the arrival date.

Docs required by Cargo Lines:
• A line-by-line valuation of our inventory, signed by us and mailed (or faxed). Couldn’t be electronically signed and emailed.
• Proof of our residence in the US for the past calendar year. This had to be from the French consulate.
• Pay stubs from employer.
• Copies of our passports.
• Proof of our residence in France (utility bill from our house)
• Personal letter explaining our intentions in shipping/returning to France

For others who wish to ship overseas, I’d suggest contacting Cargo Lines ahead of time to get a clear idea of the documents required. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3969

There is another positive post about Sterling for a completed move from Seattle to Germany; the author paid an extra 80 Euro for a Customs fee -
afraq wrote:4/5/05 - Hi, I took the advice [on this thread] and called the FMC. The person I spoke to was really helpful. His name was Joe Ferrill (not sure if I am spelling this correctly). His phone number is .

With all the research I think we narrowed it down to three companies: Sterling, Gateways or Rainier Overseas. The quotes are all similar for door to door. Just around $2000.00 for ~1000lbs & 200 cu ft.

Our original idea of doing a port to port or a port to door move seems to difficult and a lot of work with unfamiliar customs issues. Again, thanks for all your help. I will let you know how this works out! . . .

8/21/05 Hi, it took a while to get everything organized after our move. But I just would like you to know that everything went well.

We actually had, due to many,many books and a couple of very heavy items, almost twice as much weight as we thought. But it turned out ok. We went with Sterling International, and our contact was James Everhard.

Everybody, from the pick up in Seattle to the delivery people at our residence in Germany, was nice, professional and helpful. The delivery in Germany was organized through the UK by EuroUSA.

All in all it took about 8 weeks with a couple of days delay in the delivery. But we were informed of this a couple of days in advance. Also, our goods were delivered without damage, nothing was lost and the moving guys had to unload everything on a small hill and carry it up to the residence, because the truck was too big to park in our driveway. No extra charge was added. The only extra charge we had to pay was a Customs fee of about 80 Euro.

All in all we paid about $2450 for about 1800lbs. And I am glad it is over, although I really can't complain. Sterling Int. turned out ok.

Again, thanks for all the helpful advice.

Astrid and Greg
-
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3715

Another good review of a completed move (from the US to South Africa) was just posted -
Koring wrote:8/24/05 - I recently moved back from the US to South Africa and was saved from what was undoubtedly going to be a continuing nightmare with extra charges all the way and severe damage- (No in-house estimate, "insurance" sold on owner-packed boxes, amateur packers, poor/no wrapping and a side-board that mysteriously morphed into a grand piano!) - by a series of fortunate events.

I ended up getting one of the companies recommended on this site to do the move. What a difference. Worth every apparent extra penny:- just in the saved damages alone.

8/25/05 - I used Sterling, who coordinated with Allied locally to pack (great job) and Kings International in Cape Town. I moved a 40ft container. The whole shipment took less than 5 weeks as there is express Safmarine service directly from the US to SA, which is what Sterling used.

. . . What I did not mention is that I also got quotes from all the other recommended movers on the sticky and went with Sterling due to timing. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4472

Another good review of a complicated move from the U.S. to Iraqi Kurdistan to Costa Rica was just posted:
Victoria Kordan wrote: 9/26/05 - Sterling International is a highly professional company that has helped me in the most difficult of moves: first to Iraq via Istanbul, but then re-routed to Costa Rica in the middle of the process. . . . [After] a month [in Iraqi Kurdistan], I was offered a better job in Costa Rica. My things were in Istanbul already, and Sterling International did a tremendous job re-organising my move to Costa Rica from Turkey. Rich Williams, my contact from the company, has always been extremely efficient, helpful and responsive to my e-mails and queries. Sterling International is definitely genuine. I would highly recommend them for any international relocation. I will use them again when I leave Costa Rica. They took the challenge wholeheartedly and made the experience a very positive one.
- http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3891

There's a good preliminary review of Sterling for an uncompleted move from Reno to the UK, with packing:
pscowen wrote: 5/11/08 - I had three quotes and three assessors come round and give me a survey.
I found that Sterling although not the cheapest, they were very competitive against the lower end of the quotes I received. What stood out for me was the level of communication, professionalism and efficiency from Sterling and that was an important factor in my decision to use them.
Packaging starts tomorrow and I decided to let them pack everything. I am wary of insurance claims and wanted to be certain that I would be covered for all possibilities. I do not want to enter into an argument that the item was damaged by me during packing so what better way to go than get the company to pack for me.

I will send a follow up once my furniture arrives back in the UK and let you all know how it went.
The first part has gone very well and I am very happy and feel pretty secure in the company I have chosen.
My contact was Anne Marie at Sterling International on -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16164


Contact information for Sterling: phone (ask for Phil; or, Victoria mentions Rich Williams).

[Editor's note by Diane: See the next post for reviews of Stevens International Forwarders.]
Last edited by Diane on Mon May 12, 2008 12:41 am, edited 3 times in total.

varbren3
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2005 3:04 pm
Location: Miami Lakes, Fla

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby varbren3 » Sun May 15, 2005 11:39 am

This post brings together reviews of Stevens International Forwarders.

[Editor's note by Diane: These reviews were compiled by me and not by "varbren3" as the author space indicates (sorry - formatting problems).]

Stevens International Forwarders at stevensworldwide.com

There is a positive report by "Lynne212" saying that her completed move to England using Stevens was successful although she had a one-month delivery delay. (Her previous post at http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2320 gives the background.)
Lynne212 wrote:Hi

I moved from NYC to England (UK) a few months ago and used this sight to get as much info as possible prior to my move and also help to determine which agent/fowarder to use. After reading about all the horror stories, and doing an extensive research I decided to use Stevens International.

A very good choice I made. I would definately recommend them to anyone moving to Europe, the agent I worked with was very friendly and helpful. And regardless of the fact that most of my move was contracted out to third parties, most of my belongings arrived safe and sound with the exception of one item of furniture in which the insurance company had written out a cheque within a couple of weeks of filing the claim.

There was a huge delay in the delivery but that was actually a blessing because it saved paying an extra month of storage space at the destination. So it worked out fine for both myself and the movers. Of course perhaps if my things weren't going into storage and I was living in a house for 1 month without furniture, then it could have been a different case altogther.

But overall they were very friendly and answered all questions promptly. And best of all, I have all my stuff in one piece (except for the one item) and I didnt have to pay any extra costs etc.

Anyway, this message is long overdue and I promised last summer to let you all know how my move went. So now at least you have one good / happy story to let people know that moving doesnt have to be so dramatic if you contact the right people and do the right research!!!
- http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3689

There is a positive post about a completed move booked by a Stevens agent (California Movers Express):
eureka wrote:9/5/05 - Thanks to everyone who warned against Global Direct Shipping. We ended up using California Movers Express, an agent of Stevens Worldwide Van Lines. The shipper was OSS World Wide Movers. Everyone was a pleasure to deal with, from the packers to the unloaders. We had no surprises in fees or delivery times. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4462

Re-posting a positive review of a completed move booked by Stevens from CA to the UK:
abrit wrote:10/13/05 - I found this website very useful when planning my relocation from CA to the UK so I thought I should repay the debt by summarizing my experience here.

My employer was paying for the move so cost was not a major concern - I just had to accept the lower of two quotes. I was moving the contents of a large one bedroom apartment.

After reading the information supplied on this site, I contacted several companies - Rainier, Sterling, Stevens & Champion and arranged some on-site surveys. Although the man from Rainier sounded the most competent on the phone, I was put off from using them because he told me that I would have to find my own local agent. (I think this is because Rainier were incredibly busy at the time.) I was put off Sterling & Champion because their local agent was a company that Rainier told me not to use because they are currently suing them! So I ultimately chose Stevens, mainly because their local agents (California Relocations) seemed the most professional during the survey. My contact at Stevens was Nadine Larsson in Seattle ()

The result of the survey was that I had 590 cubic feet, or 4000lbs. Stevens' quote was about $5200. (Sterling was about the same, I also got a quote from Allied which was well over $7000!) Unfortunately, after I had accepted this quote, but before I had sent any payment, Nadine told me that there had been a "General Rate Increase" passed onto Stevens by the steamship line, which increased the price to about $5550. I had to send full payment in advance of the move.

Packing went very well - the movers from California Relocations were very friendly and took great care with everything. Once my possessions had left (in a 20' container), Nadine told me that the cost of my insurance (about $300) was covered by what I had already paid. This was because my shipment came in below the estimate. I later learned that the weight was about 3300lbs. (I wonder whether I should have also received a refund from Stevens because of this lower weight...)

The shipment took just under 6 weeks to arrive, exactly as Nadine predicted. The UK side of the move was handled by European Van Lines. I had to pay them an extra $70 to cover a "security handling fee" imposed by UK ports. Nadine had not heard about this before. My possessions all arrived in good shape apart from a futon, for which the nuts and bolts could not be located (I suspect they were lost amongst the waste paper generated during unpacking). However, Nadine had the manufacturer send her these parts, which she then sent to me. (In fact, she did this twice because two different sets of parts were missing.)

Overall, I am pleased with the way that my move went. Nadine was always available to discuss the move and I think her efforts at tracking down parts for my futon went beyond the call of duty (although it did save her an insurance claim). I've mentioned a few minor problems but these are nothing compared with the horror stories I've read on this site! So I would not hesitate to recommend Stevens as a reliable international mover (and California Relocations as a reliable mover in California). - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3987

Re-posting a good report on a move booked with Stevens from Michigan to Chennai, India:
hxs88121 wrote:1/19/06 - i recently moved to India from Michigan..

i used Stevens van Lines,michigan..

highly professional service. good packaging of the material,hve a good mover in india..competitive rates..

please dont go for the lowest bidder...make sure u get a quote from the sales after looking at the items..

i tried 6 other companies..but the only company that made me feel comfortable with the rates & service was stevens van lines..thnx to this website. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7028

We have an excellent review of a completed move with Stevens from TX to the Netherlands and back in mid-2006:
GreenMotion wrote: 2/5/07 - I went with Stevens International and they did an AWESOME job moving my items. The boxes arrived in tip-top shape.

Long story short; my international move from the US to Amsterdam got cancelled but my items had already shipped. Stevens was tremendous in arranging my items to be turned around at the Rotterdam port.

If I didn't know any better I would have thought they never left the US. All my boxes got shipped from the US to Rotterdam, then back from Rotterdam to New-York, and from New-York back to Houston. All of this and not a single scratch or identation on any of the packing boxes. Remarkable!! I would highly recommend them. [In a previous post he mentions that his excellent sales rep at Stevens was John.] -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 0788#80788

We have a rave review of a completed move with Stevens from Washington DC to Bahrain, emailed to Tim Walker in 2/07:
YZ wrote:Recently moved from Washington DC to Bahrain and thank you to web-advice.ru which led me to Stevens International [Jill Lickey]. Stevens subcontracted with JK Moving & Storage, both did an excellent job all the way through and thankfully this potentially very hazardous move went very smoothly, including the final devlery agent in Bahrain.

Having been previously scammed in 2002, resources like web-advice.ru are a treasure. THANK YOU!

Re-posting an excellent review of Stevens for a completed move from NYC to London in 2005:
catmeister wrote: 4/17/07 - I moved two years ago from NYC to London, England with Stevens International and their agent in the UK was EuroUSA.

Stevens was excellent and I recommend it, my agent was good too and I could forward his name to you if you want it. However, EuroUSA are not the best when it comes to updating you where your shipment is, even Stevens was no so thrilled with them. But they did deliver my stuff (about a few weeks later than the due date)

But all my things arrived safely, and I even had canvas paintings and antique marble tables. Everything was packed very professionally. Only one table base broke but the insurance check came in the post within a few weeks of my claim.

I would definitely say go with Stevens, but not so sure on EuroUSA. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtop ... 6108#86108

There is a positive review of Stevens for a shipment from Hawaii to New Zealand in 2007, although there were glitches with the NZ subcontractor:
jkknz wrote: 3/14/07 - Hello all. I appreciate all the advice on this site. Based on reading many posts, I obtained quotes from Stevens and Southern Winds for 500 cubic feet and 2500 lbs in lift vans from Hawaii to NZ, via Los Angeles. The quotes, non-binding of course, came in similarly around $7K. The differences between the companies seem to be this:
-Stevens requires 60% deposit before load day; SW requires no payment until after loading (actually you have one week after).
-SW did not provide a "formal" quote document, only a "formalized" email. Stevens emailed me a PDF version of a paper quote.

Both Jill Lickey (Stevens) and Donovan (SW) have been very helpful, so I am having a difficult time deciding. SW seems a little less professional, but they have received pretty good reviews. Stevens seems professional, but a little less personable. Any input from you all out there would be greatly appreciated!!

Regards,
Jason

3/15/07 - Stevens replied this morning saying that the deposits were just started this year due to too many write-offs from cancellations. If you cancel, you get your deposit back minus $75. Still, 60% is a big chuck o money. . . . In speaking with Stevens today, they said you can pay the deposit as late as the day before the pack/load date, so I suppose that alleviates some of my concern. I would be more concerned if they weren't recommended here, and I can't imagine them running off with my deposit and leaving me high and dry.

7/9/07 - Hi Again. Wanted to update the list with what happened. Soon after complaining to Stevens about the deposit, I received an email that they had changed their policy to 10%.

I went with them, and everything went according to plan until it cleared NZ customs. Stevens used The Moving Company in New Zealand to handle customs clearance and trucking to my address. The Moving Company was not good about returning calls, and was less than courteous on the phone. Then, they finally returned my call about a delivery date and stated "Tuesday, the..." On Monday at 10AM I got a call from a truckie that he would be at my house by 11AM...ahhhhh. Ran home to meet ONE delivery guy who was not informed that it was an unload/unpack/remove service. The delivery company was a sub to The Moving Company.

After hassling with TMC, it appears that I'll get $250 back for having to unpack myself. Stevens, and Jill Lickey specifically, were very courteous and helpful throughout, although subcontractors left something to be desired. I would use Stevens again, although I would ask for different subs. -
http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13202

There is an excellent report on a move coordinated by Stevens from Michigan to the Netherlands, praising especially the packing by a crew sent by Weller Transfer in Kalamazoo:
Gaviidae wrote:7/28/07 - Hi all. I don't have all my papers in front of me as I'm on the computer at a friend's house, but now that I finally have time I want to put out my experience so far on my move (my stuff is supposed to arrive in Rotterdam/Europort today).

I met my husband 10 years ago and we finally got married in April. I had gotten my verblijfsvergunning (staying permit) last year in October, and according to Dutch Customs, one may bring stuff in without paying the usual 19% taxes-on-imported-goods if the case is that you're moving (generally within a year of actually coming here). Since I was going to be back at my house in the US for 3 weeks in June, I decided that was going to have to be the time of the move (even with summer being busy for movers). I called all 4 of the International movers listed on the main thread.
If I can remember right, the call to Sterling could not connect for some reason (I was calling from the Netherlands). I left a message for someone at another company (Southern Winds?). I got ahold of Jill at Stevens and Mark Lawson at (I'm getting SWINTL and Rainier mixed up but I think he was at Rainier). Both company reps took down my address in the States and told me they'd rather set things up after I got in the States.

After arriving in the States, I still basically only got ahold of the same two people. I never could connect with Sterling. Someone got my name there and was going to call back. One of the problems the companies had was that I had a long list of things I needed to do in my short time in the States, and my house had no phone (a tree had fallen on the wire last year) and so I was staying with my aunt and uncle 40 miles away and I ended up mostly playing phone tag. My relatives also live in the Internet Stone Age so there was trouble checking my email. We ended up buying a lot of coffees at the sometimes-online sometimes-not local Internet Cafe.

So I managed to get only two estimates at my house, a woman from I think Rainier (she was actually from United Van Lines, the actual shipper) and someone from Weller Transfer (the actual shipper for Stevens). I could not get to the other two companies and didn't feel good with picking one of two, but that's what I ended up doing.

My amount of stuff was quite small, mostly books, music (records, CDs, tapes), a fold-up bookshelf, two stained glasses (each a few feet by a few feet), and small Chinese stuff from my dead grandma, and a wooden table with 2 benches. All this was under 1000 lbs. which was the basis for both companies. Stevens emailed me their estimate, about $2500 not including customs, taxes, import costs, all that. The other company (Rainier?) gave me two numbers, which I can't remember what they were exactly, but they were a bit more but included import costs etc, and calculating the two, they were about equal. Both companies wanted an answer as soon as possible, and I ended up choosing Stevens only because there were some Dutch people in the company (West Michigan is full of Dutch people and many more people moving to-and-from the Netherlands/West Michigan than in other parts of the US), and spoke with one guy over some details in Dutch (good practice for me). Also their office is in Saginaw which isn't far from the Grand Rapids area. Before I could call the other company to let them know, they called me.

Mark Lawson sounded really disappointed and almost sad, and I felt bad that I couldn't give him a hard reason like cost or something. Someone had told him that I was going with them, but I dunno who that could be, as the only person I talked to was the estimator, who asked when her company would get an answer, As it was Monday that she came I told her that I was hoping for 3 or 4 other estimates during the week and planned on calling the following week. I couldn't have picked a company without an estimate and only one person in house!

Two local dudes from Kalamazoo came with a truck and wrapped all my stuff in paper and boxed it. One was obviously newer to the job than the other, but they both did just fine. They knew nothing other than that the truck was bringing the stuff to Kalamazoo where it would be put in some wooden crate-box, and from there brought to port (either to Detroit or New York).

Even though the first main email from Stevens said something like I was supposed to pay 10% up front and the rest after being delivered, nobody asked for anything until after the email saying the ocean container left port and was supposed to arrive here today. An insurance form was emailed to me, which I filled in and returned. At no point did I sign anything. So far it's felt pretty strange but I guess I'll see after this weekend how it all went. I think things would've gone less touch-and-go if I'd had more time in the States (but only had three weeks, while filing taxes, selling my stuff including my car, house and furniture, and planning an American-side wedding party).

I don't have a lot of stuff, and most of it is sentimental but not terribly so, and books and music are fairly ding-resistant (and they are probably the most important, my text books/reference books especially). I plan to update when the stuff has arrived and I deal with Customs and see how it went. KHZ is doing the Netherlands-end of the job. They were repeatedly recommended on sites like buitenlandsepartners.nl and expatica.com on the Netherlands pages. I kinda had to keep asking Jill who I needed to contact with KHZ but they work with Stevens a lot so I didn't really need to do anything with them. KHZ also didn't expect me to already have my vergunning (permit) with Customs to bring my stuff in without tax, so they only said to mail or email it to them before today, which I did. I'll see how this goes.

My small town is having this week a crazy festival they have only every 5 years, and the following week is Jaarmarkt, which is also crazy and festive. I hope the movers can get the truck in by our house. . . .

8/14/07 - Update: well, the stuff ended up at Rotterdam a bit later than was expected, about a week, but oh well. All I heard from KHZ was that I didn't have to pay any customs or import costs, which was nice, esp. considering that after I had filled in the customs paper several months ago, I realised I had forgotten a few things, including a solar oven (which is just a big black plastic box, but sounds funky on paper). My husband ended up calling them a few times before getting an answer, and finally said they'd deliver my stuff Monday (13 Augustus). They said they'd come sometime after noon. They came at about 13.30, which was great. Two big guys hauled the stuff out and into the garage of my parents-in-law (my wooden table and benches and one stained glass is staying at their house until we move to a bigger place; everything else we brought back to our house a few blocks away). The only surprise was that my table's base had been further broken down, which I didn't know they would do (this must have been done either in Kalamazoo MI or at port in New York). By broken down I mean taken apart and seperately wrapped in thick paper.

Everything, including grandma's Chinese figurines and the stained glass, was still intact. Good packing with bunches of thick paper makes a big difference. Record player made it too (still going to find out if its motor cares what the frequency is), as well as a small solar panel I brought. The packers from Weller Transfer (or likely, one of their sub-agents, two dudes in a truck) packed well, even though only one of the two guys was clearly expert (the other seemed new). Glass was set in multiple glass-box ends, with folded triangle cardboards at the ends, cardboard spacers, and the ends wrapped multiple times (this after the glass itself was wrapped in much thick paper). In fact, all the boxes that weren't carrying books and records were build at my house as needed.

Since everything turned out well, I'm no longer worried about the lack of paperwork, but if I had to do it again, I would try much harder to get more paperwork. It just seems like one would get something like a contract, sign it, and have something saying "I made this contract with so-and-so to move my junk from point A to point B for x-amount in x-amount of time."

I only had the packing list made by the movers at my house, an insurance claim form to fill out from Stevens if I needed to file a claim, and another copy of the packing list from KHZ with their signature which I signed after seeing that yes, they'd brought everything that had been packed.

In any case, now it's time to enjoy all that music I'd been missing... - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14450

"notmeyer" posted a complaint about Stevens in 10/08 stating that it failed to pay in full for her damage claim on a shipment from Italy to the U.S. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17399 Here is a runup to that post - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16719 Since the story is rather complex and includes photos, interested parties should go to the links above for details.

Contact information for Stevens: phone or (ask for Jill)

f150_girly
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 9:23 pm
Location: Yukon, Ok

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby f150_girly » Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:03 pm

Ok
Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 11:56 am Post subject: Not happy with the response from Rainier Overseas


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have sent the guy 3 emails for a quote and two attempts with no reply I finally received a response on the third try and this was his response.
Keep in mind I was only asking for a quote and my move won't commence till next year. Here is his reply. Talk about bad Customer Service. He didn't even read my email.


Sorry, we are so busy that we can not handle any more shpts until after the summer....
Good luck !
DW
Doug Wiviott
Rainier Overseas Movers, Inc.
Director, International Business Development

P.O. Box 97004, Bellevue, WA 98009

Toll free phone ext. 220
Fax
Rainieros.com

TedBed

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby TedBed » Thu Sep 15, 2005 9:19 pm

[advertisement removed by administrator]

Marwood

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby Marwood » Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:02 am

I used Ranier recently based partly on the reviews posted here. My experience was not nearly as positive as other posters. Ranier were very efficient at first, up to the point of signing an agreement. I should have become suspicious at their reluctance to provide a detailed written qoute. They qouted based on a in-home estimate one week prior to pack-up and move. On the day of packing the movers estimated the volume to be about 30% greater than the estimate the week before and were correct. Ranier then advised me that my shipment would not occur on the date they originally qouted, delayed due to a public holiday. When I called to complain about being lowballed on the qoute, I was treated to a series of well rehearsed replies. They could not explain how they failed to notice memorial day when they did the initial estimate of sailing date. I was left with the impression that the person on the other end of the phone had heard the same complaints many times before. My shipment eventually arrived, mostly intact at far greater expense than qouted. I would caution against moving with Ranier. It appears to me that the qoute low, charge high and minimise the paper trail methodology is standard here. I would not use this company again.

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 5:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby Diane » Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:46 am

I will add your comments to our review thread on Rainier. The company can respond if it wishes. I should tell you that in similar cases, companies often argue that the customer added items that were not shown in the original walk-through.

Victoria Fontan

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby Victoria Fontan » Mon Sep 26, 2005 10:24 pm

Dear Diane,

I posted another comment on my "Moving to Kurdistan" forum this afternoon. This is just to re-iterate that Sterling International is a highly professional company that has helped me in the most difficult of moves: first to Iraq via Istanbul, but then re-routed to Costa Rica in the middle of the process. They took the challenge wholeheartedly and made the experience a very positive one.

I will use them again in the future.

A good contact there is also Rich Williams.

Best regards,

Victoria Fontan

abrit

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby abrit » Thu Oct 13, 2005 9:11 pm

I found this website very useful when planning my relocation from CA to the UK so I thought I should repay the debt by summarizing my experience here.

My employer was paying for the move so cost was not a major concern - I just had to accept the lower of two quotes. I was moving the contents of a large one bedroom apartment.

After reading the information supplied on this site, I contacted several companies - Rainier, Sterling, Stevens & Champion and arranged some on-site surveys. Although the man from Rainier sounded the most competent on the phone, I was put off from using them because he told me that I would have to find my own local agent. (I think this is because Rainier were incredibly busy at the time.) I was put off Sterling & Champion because their local agent was a company that Rainier told me not to use because they are currently suing them! So I ultimately chose Stevens, mainly because their local agents (California Relocations) seemed the most professional during the survey. My contact at Stevens was Nadine Larsson in Seattle ()

The result of the survey was that I had 590 cubic feet, or 4000lbs. Stevens' quote was about $5200. (Sterling was about the same, I also got a quote from Allied which was well over $7000!) Unfortunately, after I had accepted this quote, but before I had sent any payment, Nadine told me that there had been a "General Rate Increase" passed onto Stevens by the steamship line, which increased the price to about $5550. I had to send full payment in advance of the move.

Packing went very well - the movers from California Relocations were very friendly and took great care with everything. Once my possessions had left (in a 20' container), Nadine told me that the cost of my insurance (about $300) was covered by what I had already paid. This was because my shipment came in below the estimate. I later learned that the weight was about 3300lbs. (I wonder whether I should have also received a refund from Stevens because of this lower weight...)

The shipment took just under 6 weeks to arrive, exactly as Nadine predicted. The UK side of the move was handled by European Van Lines. I had to pay them an extra $70 to cover a "security handling fee" imposed by UK ports. Nadine had not heard about this before. My possessions all arrived in good shape apart from a futon, for which the nuts and bolts could not be located (I suspect they were lost amongst the waste paper generated during unpacking). However, Nadine had the manufacturer send her these parts, which she then sent to me. (In fact, she did this twice because two different sets of parts were missing.)

Overall, I am pleased with the way that my move went. Nadine was always available to discuss the move and I think her efforts at tracking down parts for my futon went beyond the call of duty (although it did save her an insurance claim). I've mentioned a few minor problems but these are nothing compared with the horror stories I've read on this site! So I would not hesitate to recommend Stevens as a reliable international mover (and California Relocations as a reliable mover in California).

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 5:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby Diane » Fri Oct 14, 2005 4:06 pm

Thanks so much; I have re-posted your review under the Stevens heading above so people can find it more easily. I was wondering whether you could post the name of the company that Rainier is suing. Possibly Champion and Sterling, being located at some distance from the West Coast, are not aware of any problems with this company.

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 5:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby Diane » Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:30 am

Re-posting a recent good report on a move from upstate NY to Israel with Advance Moving and Storage, an agent of Atlas Van Lines:
mitrii57 wrote:10/20/05 - Moved about 1500lbs, mostly books, from upstate NY to ISrael.
I went to 123movers.com, filled the form, received plenty of e-mails from movingcost.com, worldmovingservices.com, uniworldcarge.com etc.
almost hired one of them for about 1400 but then found this site. Redid the search, this time using yellow pages, and found Advance Moving and Storage, Ithaca, NY, an agent of Atlas Van lines International. They visited us and gave a non-binding estimate (they did not know the weight and volume exactly) of about 2700. On the pick-up day they appeared in time, picked very fast and professionally everything (about 3 hours, again, as promised) and moved to their storage (to put into a container). I visited the storage next day, they told me that the weight and volume was actually smaller than estimated, and charged about 2500 (but I added about 200 USD of insurance anyway). The supervising agent from Atlas van Lines (situated in CA) was Deb Cuming, easy to reach and answering e-mails promptly.

I moved to Israel, the shipment came to port in about 6 weeks after pick-up date (again, as promised). Red tape with customs: one working day for myself (ministry of interior and the customs itself both have long lines), and the rest was taken care by the destination agent, A Univers transit. They did everything perfect, except that they tried to charge me the port fees (about 250-300USD). I remembered that this was included into the 2500 above, and after some e-mail exchanges between Univers Transit and Deb Cuming the sum was paid by Atlas Van Lines (I think this was honest misunderstanding). After 3 more days (i.e. in total less then 2 months from pick-up date) they brought shipment to the apartment, nothing broken, everything present.

In short, highly recommended: it was much better than I expected and exactly as they described. - http://web-advice.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6320

MusicMom
Posts: 19323
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 4:51 pm
Location: DC Metro

Re: Reviews of international movers (June 2004 to present)

Postby MusicMom » Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:13 pm

A guest, presumably a pro international mover, mentioned this site and Tim posted the link. I'm reposting it so others can see a list of movers who have reached FiDi FAIM status. Fidi FAIM is the highest designation that an international mover can achieve. If you are looking for an international mover in your home area, this may be a good place to start. Call each of them and request a home visit for an estimate, though.

http://fidi-faim.com/companyprofile ... country=US


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